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BRYANT v. U.S.

April 28, 1999

ERIC D. BRYANT, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McAVOY, Chief Judge.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION & ORDER

Before the Court is petitioner Eric D. Bryant's motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For the reasons that follow, petitioner's motion is denied in all respects.

I. BACKGROUND

On March 8, 1996, pursuant to an agreement with the United States, petitioner Eric D. Bryant pled guilty to engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848.*fn1 In exchange for the plea and petitioner's cooperation in the prosecution of his co-conspirators, the government recommended a downward departure from the sentencing range applicable under the sentencing guidelines. This Court sentenced petitioner to a term of 108 months imprisonment, and the Judgment and Conviction was filed on April 3, 1997. Petitioner did not appeal his conviction or sentence. During his incarceration, petitioner has engaged in various drug treatment, religious, and educational programs.

II. DISCUSSION

A prisoner sentenced by a federal court may move the court that imposed the sentence to "vacate, set aside or correct the sentence" where: (1) the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States; (2) the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence; (3) the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law; or (4) the sentence is otherwise subject to collateral attack. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Supp. 1998); see also Chambers v. United States, 106 F.3d 472, 474 (2d Cir. 1997) (internal citations omitted).

Historically, a prisoner could file a petition for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 at any time. A delay in filing "was a basis for dismissal only if the ground for the petition could have been known to the petitioner earlier and the [government] could show that the delay `prejudiced [it] in its ability to respond to the petition.'" Ross v. Artuz, 150 F.3d 97, 99 (2d Cir. 1998); see also Rule 9(a) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the United States District Courts. In fact, early courts held that section 2255 included "no statute of limitations." Heflin v. United States, 358 U.S. 415, 420, 79 S.Ct. 451, 3 L.Ed.2d 407 (1959).

However, a section 2255 motion must now be filed within the statute of limitations period imposed by Congress in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub.L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (effective April 24, 1996) (codified as amended in scattered sections of 28 U.S.C.) (the "AEDPA" or the "Act"). The Act provides for a one-year period of limitations for a prisoner to file a motion under section 2255. The limitations period runs from the latest of:

  (1) the date on which the judgment of conviction
  becomes final;
  (2) the date on which the impediment to making a
  motion created by governmental action in violation of
  the Constitution or laws of the United States is
  removed, if the movant was prevented from making a
  motion by such governmental action;
  (3) the date on which the right asserted was
  initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that
  right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court
  and made retroactively applicable to cases on
  collateral review; or
  (4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim
  or claims presented could have been discovered
  through the exercise of due diligence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Supp. 1998); see also Ross, 150 F.3d 97, 99, 103 (2d Cir. 1998) (holding that prisoners must now file a section 2255 motion within a "period of one year after the effective date of AEDPA" or one year after the effective date provided in section 2255, whichever is later).

Petitioner in the present case filed his motion for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on February 25, 1999, more than twenty-two months after Judgment and Order was entered. Petitioner's conviction became final, for purposes of the AEDPA, ten days after the entry of the Judgment and Order, when the time for petitioner to file a notice of appeal had expired. See FED.R.APP.P. 4(b) (West 1998). Because petitioner's motion was not filed within one year after the judgment of conviction became final,*fn2 it is therefore time-barred under the AEDPA. See United States v. Valdez, 1999 WL 138897 (E.D.La. Mar.11, 1999) (holding section 2255 motion for relief based on post-conviction rehabilitation barred by the time ...


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