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Paula v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. New York

October 22, 2014

DANIEL PAULA, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
DANIEL PAULA, a/k/a Quinton Garcia Defendant.

OPINION & ORDER

PAUL A. CROTTY, District Judge.

Petitioner Daniel Paula moves to vacate his conviction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel because certain arguments were not raised at his sentencing hearing and because the sentence was not appealed. Petitioner seeks discovery of all evidence relating to his assertions and an evidentiary hearing.

BACKGROUND

On February 14, 2013, Petitioner entered a plea of guilty to all four counts of a superseding information: (i) making a false statement in a passport application, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1542; (ii) conspiring to distribute identification documents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028(f); (iii) aggravated theft in connection with the document distribution conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A; and (iv) conspiring to launder money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h).

The plea agreement, dated October 2, 2012, calculated a Guidelines sentence of 57-65 months' imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum of 24 months. (Plea Agreement 5). The plea agreement also provided:

(i) that the defendant will not file a direct appeal; nor bring a collateral challenge, including but not limited to an application under Title 28, United States Code, Section 2255[, ]... of any sentence within or below the Stipulated Guidelines Range of 57-65 months' imprisonment, and (ii) that the Government will not appeal any sentence within or above the Stipulated Guidelines Range.

( Id. at 7).

During the plea proceeding, [1] Petitioner was sworn and testified that he understood he was giving up his right to appeal or to collaterally attack a sentence within the Guidelines range:

THE COURT: Do you also understand that under the terms of this plea agreement, if Judge Crotty sentences you to a prison term that is 65 months or less, you will be giving up your right to appeal that sentence or to challenge it in any other way, such as through a writ of habeas corpus?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.

(Plea Tr. 17:20-25).

Petitioner also testified with respect to the advice and assistance of counsel:

THE COURT: Have you had a chance to discuss the charges and how you wish to plead with ...

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