United States District Court, Northern District of New York
April 28, 1999
ERIC D. BRYANT, PETITIONER,
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.
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
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
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
(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction
(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 limits of the AEDPA). Assuming
that the AEDPA did not bar petitioner's claim, 28 U.S.C. § 2255
does not permit relief based on petitioner's claim of
Petitioner alleges that his request for habeas relief should be
granted because he has undergone extensive drug treatment and
educational and religious training since he has been in prison.
See Petitioner's Memorandum in Support of Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus, at 5. In the present case, petitioner has taken
great strides toward improving his life. Though commendable,
section 2255 simply does not open the door for reconsideration of
a legitimately imposed sentence, regardless of the rehabilitative
efforts petitioner has made. See United States v. Addonizio,
442 U.S. 178, 99 S.Ct. 2235, 60 L.Ed.2d 805 (1979) (holding that
prisoner could not be released under section 2255 simply because
the sentencing judge had intended that prisoner be released on
parole after three to four years of "good behavior").*fn3
A district court may grant a motion for relief under section
2255 only in limited circumstances. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255; see
also Addonizio, 442 U.S. at 184, 99 S.Ct. 2235 (noting that in
the absence of jurisdictional or constitutional errors, "the
scope of collateral attack [under section 2255] has remained far
more limited."). No general authority exists under section
2255 to grant relief simply because of post-sentencing
rehabilitative efforts undertaken by an incarcerated prisoner.
See Varley v. United States, 1998 WL 903609, at *1 (E.D.N Y
Dec.17, 1998) (in dismissing habeas motion, holding that section
2255 provided no authority to reduce prisoner's sentence based on
post-conviction rehabilitation); see also Addonizio, 442 U.S.
at 184-86, 99 S.Ct. 2235.
The Court notes, however, that some cases permit consideration
of post-conviction rehabilitative efforts when a court is
resentencing a defendant. See, e.g., United States v. Sally,
116 F.3d 76, 81 (3d Cir. 1997) (holding that "extraordinary
post-conviction rehabilitative efforts" may serve "as a basis for
a downward departure."); United States v. Maier, 975 F.2d 944,
948 (2d Cir. 1992) (same). This line of cases does not, however,
extend to situations in which the only ground on which a
reduction in sentence is requested is the rehabilitation itself.
United States v. Gallagher, 1998 WL 42282, at *4-*5 (E.D.Pa.
Jan.9, 1998) ("It is only on the occasion of initial sentencing,
or of resentencing for other reasons, that Sally allows the
court to consider post-conviction rehabilitation in support of a
motion for a downward departure from the Guidelines. The
rehabilitation does not, in itself, provide grounds for
In the present case, no independent grounds for resentencing
exist; petitioner instead asks this Court to view his
rehabilitative efforts as an independent basis for a reduction of
his sentence. For that reason, the Court must deny petitioner's
motion for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
For the foregoing reasons, Petitioner's claim pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255 is DENIED and DISMISSED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.