United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
before the Court is pro se Petitioner Ramona Marcel
Long (“Petitioner”)'s motion to vacate, set
aside, or correct her sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2255 (Doc. No. 256) and her response to the Court's
October 9, 2019 Order directing her to show cause why her
§ 2255 motion should not be dismissed as untimely (Doc.
No. 268). For the following reasons, the Court will dismiss
Petitioner's § 2255 motion as untimely.
March 23, 2016, a grand jury returned an indictment charging
Petitioner with: one count of conspiracy to manufacture,
distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute 100
kilograms and more of marijuana; one count of conspiracy to
commit money laundering; and nine (9) counts of
manufacturing, distributing, and possessing with the intent
to distribute marijuana. (Doc. No. 1.) After Petitioner was
arrested (Doc. No. 41), she was released on a $150, 000.00
unsecured bond cosigned by her parents and her husband, Randy
Irby (Doc No. 169 ¶ 5). On June 21, 2016, a report
alleging that Petitioner had violated her pretrial release
was submitted to the Court. (Doc. No. 169 ¶ 6.) The
report alleged that Petitioner had violated her conditions of
release by possessing a firearm, destructive device, or
dangerous weapon, and by failing to comply with mental health
treatment requirements. (Id.) The report advised
further that Randy Irby “may no longer be a suitable
surety.” (Id.) The report was based on
information gathered following a search of Petitioner's
home after Randy Irby “had sent several emails to Butte
County[, ] [California] Supervisors that were of a
threatening nature.” (Id.) Officers recovered
bomb-making materials during the search, and Irby admitted to
making smoke bombs and grenades. (Id.) Following a
bond violation hearing on November 8, 2016, Petitioner's
conditions of release were modified to limit Randy Irby to
“staying at her home to Friday and Saturday nights
only.” (Id. ¶ 9.)
subsequently entered into a plea agreement with the
Government. (Doc. No. 104.) The plea agreement called for
Petitioner to plead guilty to conspiracy to manufacture,
distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute 100
kilograms and more of marijuana and conspiracy to commit
money laundering. (Id. ¶ 1.) On May 3, 2017,
Petitioner appeared before Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson
for a change of plea hearing. (Doc. No. 127.) Magistrate
Judge Carlson concluded that Petitioner was fully competent
to enter an informed plea and understood the consequences of
her plea, that she was pleading guilty knowingly and
voluntarily, and that the plea was supported by an
independent basis in fact. (Id.) On that date,
Magistrate Judge Carlson recommended that this Court accept
Petitioner's guilty plea. (Id.) On May 23, 2017,
the Court adopted Magistrate Judge Carlson's Report and
Recommendation and accepted Petitioner's guilty plea.
(Doc. No. 145.) On August 15, 2017, the Court granted
Petitioner's motion to modify her conditions of release
to allow Randy Irby to reside with her full-time. (Doc. Nos.
United States Probation Office subsequently prepared a
Presentence Investigation Report (“PSR”), which
concluded that Petitioner's total offense level was 32.
(Doc. No. 170 ¶ 48.) Petitioner fell within criminal
history category one (1). (Id. ¶ 51.) The
Probation Office noted that Petitioner had pending charges
for cultivating marijuana and possessing marijuana for sale
in the Superior Court of California. (Id. ¶
52.) The Probation Office indicated that Petitioner was
subject to a mandatory minimum term of five (5) years'
incarceration for the conspiracy charge and that
Petitioner's total offense level of 29 and criminal
history category of one (1) resulted in a Sentencing
Guidelines range of 87 to 108 months of incarceration.
(Id. ¶¶ 81-82.)
filed objections to PSR, asserting, inter alia, that
she was entitled to the “safety valve” reduction
set forth in § 5C1.2 of the Sentencing Guidelines. (Doc. No.
170 at 4.) The Probation Office determined that Petitioner
was not eligible for the “safety valve” reduction
because a dangerous weapon was possessed in connection with
the offense. (Id.) On September 28, 2017, the Court
sentenced Petitioner to seventy-two (72) months'
imprisonment to be served concurrently “with any
sentence which may be imposed in [the] Superior Court of
California, case number CM044017.” (Doc. No. 202 at 2.)
Petitioner did not appeal.
January 2, 2019, Petitioner, proceeding pro se,
filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct her sentence
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. No. 256.) In that
motion, Petitioner raises the following claims for relief:
Ground One: The Court erred by not granting relief at
sentencing under the “safety valve” provisions of
§ 5C1.2 of the Sentencing Guidelines and 18 U.S.C.
§ 3553(f); and
Ground Two: The Court improperly imposed restricted access to
her spouse, Randy Irby, as a condition of her pretrial
(Id. at 4-5.) In response, the Government asserts
that Petitioner's § 2255 motion is untimely and that
her claims are not cognizable under § 2255 (Doc. No.
263). In an Order dated October 9, 2019, the Court agreed
with the Government that Petitioner's § 2255 motion
appeared to be untimely pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)
and, therefore, directed Petitioner to show cause within
thirty (30) days why her § 2255 motion should not be
dismissed as untimely. (Doc. No. 267.) Petitioner filed her
response to the Court's show cause Order on October 22,
2019. (Doc. No. 268.) The Government filed a brief opposing
Petitioner's response on November 4, 2019. (Doc. No.
269.) On November 19, 2019, the Court received a letter from
Petitioner that the Court construes to be Petitioner's
reply brief. (Doc. No. 270.) Accordingly, Petitioner's
§ 2255 motion is ripe for disposition.
28 U.S.C. § 2255(a), a federal prisoner may file a
motion requesting that the sentencing court vacate, set
aside, or correct his sentence on the basis “that the
sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws
of the United States, or that the [C]ourt was without
jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence
was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is
otherwise subject to collateral attack.” See
28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). However, § 2255 does not
afford a remedy for all errors that may have been made at
trial or during sentencing. See United States v.
Essig, 10 F.3d 968, 977 n.25 (3d Cir. 1993) (citing
United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 185
(1979)). Rather, § 2255 is implicated only when the
alleged error raises “a fundamental defect which
inherently results in a complete miscarriage of
justice.” See Addonizio, 442 U.S. at 185.
Timeliness of Petitioner's Claims
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(“AEDPA”), a petitioner has one year from the
time her conviction becomes final to file a Section 2255
motion. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244. Specifically, the