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United States of America v. Johnny Martinez

December 5, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JOHNNY MARTINEZ, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chin, Circuit Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION

Defendant Johnny Martinez was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1958 and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924. He was sentenced to life plus 120 months in prison. Martinez now moves pro se pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

I. Facts

In May 1998, a drug-distribution organization hired Martinez to kill two individuals (the "victims") suspected of stealing from the organization. (PSR ¶ 17). Martinez and three others agreed to murder the victims for $37,000. (PSR ¶ 18).

On May 26, 1998, Martinez and the other gunmen fired on the victims while they sat in their car at a traffic light, killing the first victim in the driver's seat and wounding the second victim in the passenger seat. (PSR ¶ 21). The second victim managed to escape. (PSR ¶ 22).

II. Prior Proceedings

1. Arrest

On September 25, 1998, Martinez was arrested by the New York City Police Department and charged with second-degree murder by the Bronx District Attorney's Office. (Tr. 626). He was released on bail and subsequently fled to the Dominican Republic. (Tr. 552, 625-26). After he had fled, Martinez was indicted on various federal charges. (PSR ¶ 1-4) Martinez was arrested in the Dominican Republic and extradited to the United States on January 22, 2003. Id.

2. Trial and Sentencing

On September 9, 2003, a jury found Martinez guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1958 and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924. United States v. Banks, 464 F.3d 184, 185 (2d Cir. 2006). On February 3, 2005, I sentenced Martinez to a term of imprisonment of life on the first count plus a mandatory consecutive term of 120 months on the second count. (2/3/05 Judgment).

3. Appeal

On appeal, Martinez challenged his conviction on three grounds. Banks, 464 F.3d at 185. First, he argued that the Government's use of certain guilty pleas and post-arrest statements violated his right to confront witnesses pursuant to Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004). Id. Second, he asserted that the district court did not properly consider the requisite sentencing factors. Id. Finally, Martinez argued that because his sentence exceeded thirty years, it violated an extradition agreement between the United States and the Dominican Republic. Id. The Second Circuit rejected Martinez's arguments and affirmed his conviction on September 12, 2006. Id.

The United States Supreme Court denied Martinez's petition for certiorari on October 1, 2007. Martinez v. ...


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