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United States v. Wright

June 30, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT,
v.
QUANTE WRIGHT A.K.A. "LITTLE HOVA", PETITIONER.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Norman A. Mordue, Chief U.S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Petitioner Quante Wright moves to vacate, set aside, or correct his conviction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The government opposes Wright's motion.

II. BACKGROUND

On April 20, 2007, Wright pled guilty to a conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity as part of his membership in the Brighton Brigade gang, in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d). On January 31, 2008, the Court sentenced Wright to a term of imprisonment of 105 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release.

On April 29, 2008, Wright filed a motion seeking an order appointing counsel and arguing: (1) that when imposing sentence, the Court failed to consider that all the overt acts to which Wright pled guilty were committed between the ages of 14 and 18; and (2) that even though his offense level was enhanced based on his overt acts, the Court failed to award him credit for prior terms of imprisonment he served in connection with those acts.

Because Wright claimed legal error in his sentencing proceeding, the Court advised him that it intended to convert his motion papers to a petition pursuant to § 2255, warned Wright of the potential adverse consequences of such conversion, and offered him the opportunity to withdraw his submission. Additionally, the Court informed Wright that if he desired the Court to consider the motion under § 2255, he could amend and/or supplement his motion.

Wright amended and supplemented his original motion papers to include an argument that the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction in this case because the government failed to file a certification required by the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act ("JDA") , 18 U.S.C. § 5301 et seq. The government filed a response in opposition to Wright's motion. Wright filed a reply to the government's opposition papers.

III. DISCUSSION

Section 2255 allows a convicted person held in federal custody to petition the sentencing court to vacate, set aside or correct a sentence. Morales v. United States, 2008 WL 4761705, at * 3 (S.D.N.Y. 2008). A § 2255 petitioner may collaterally attack his sentence on very limited grounds. Indeed, a district court may only vacate or modify a sentence if the court "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." United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 183 (1979). To be otherwise subject to collateral attack, the sentence must suffer from an error of law that is either constitutional in magnitude or so fundamental as to result in a miscarriage of justice. See id.; Parsons v. United States, 919 F. Supp. 86, 88-89 (N.D.N.Y. 1996).

A. Age

Wright argues in his motion papers that when imposing sentence, the Court failed to consider that he was between the ages of 14 and 18 when he committed the overt acts alleged in the indictment. As the Court explained when imposing sentence, "I took into consideration his age when things started with him and the amount of [criminal history] points that did develop at the younger age, didn't go away, I have thought of that in the sentence that I have imposed too." Dkt. No. 237, p. 6. Thus, Wright's argument is without merit.

B. Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act

In this case, Wright contends that because he was under the age of 18 during "part of the conspiracy" the JDA required the government to file a certification. Wright further asserts that the government's failure to do so deprived the Court of ...


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