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Sanchez-Delgado v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. California

January 28, 2014



ROGER T. BENITEZ, District Judge.

Before this Court is the Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255 filed by Petitioner Maricela Sanchez-Delgado. (Docket No. 52).[1] For the reasons stated below, the Motion is DENIED.


On April 29, 2012, Petitioner and her daughter attempted to enter the United States from Mexico. Customs and Border Patrol officers found 13 packages of methamphetamine, weighing 14.60 kilograms, in the gas tank of their vehicle. On June 28, 2012, Petitioner and her daughter were indicted with importation of methamphetamine. On September 11, 2012, Petitioner pled guilty to the indictment pursuant to a plea agreement, and exonerated her daughter. This Court sentenced Petitioner to 46 months of imprisonment on February 25, 2013.

Petitioner filed the instant motion on September 11, 2013. Petitioner's first claim is "not enough support from my attorney." (Mot. at 5). She contends that her attorney would not let her out on bail even though someone would sign for it, that he told her family not to let her out on bail because she would run, and that he would not let her out even after her father died. She also claims that her attorney was very rude to her friend. She states that her attorney would "literally yell at me" and pressured her to provide information to the government. ( Id. ) She also said that he "just wouldn't provide any professional or moral support regarding my case." ( Id. ) Petitioner's second claim is that her son is sick and needs proper care. ( Id. at 6). She states that her son, who is now 23 years, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 18 years old. ( Id. ) She asks this Court to grant electronic home monitoring for the duration of her sentence, a sentence reduction, or to have a portion of the sentence suspended. ( Id. at 14).


A district court may "vacate, set aside or correct" a sentence of a federal prisoner that was imposed in violation of the Constitution or a law of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). A district court must hold an evidentiary hearing before denying a § 2255 motion, unless it is conclusively shown that the prisoner is entitled to no relief. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). However, if it is clear the petitioner has failed to state a claim, or has "no more than conclusory allegations, unsupported by facts and refuted by the record, " a district court may deny a § 2255 motion without an evidentiary hearing. United States v. Quan, 789 F.2d 711, 715 (9th Cir. 1986).


I. Petitioner Waived Her Right to Collateral Attack

Review of the record in this matter indicates that Petitioner's claims are barred by her waiver of her collateral attack rights.

As part of the plea agreement, Petitioner agreed to waive her right to collaterally attack her sentence. (Plea Ag. ¶ XI). The Ninth Circuit has upheld the validity of waivers of the right to collaterally attack a sentence pursuant to § 2255. United States v. Abarca, 985 F.2d 1012, 1014 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 508 U.S. 979 (1993). Waivers in plea bargaining are "an important component of this country's criminal justice system." United States v. Navarro-Botello, 912 F.2d 318, 321 (9th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted) (in the context of a waiver of right to appeal). The Ninth Circuit has held that public policy strongly supports plea agreements. Id. Plea bargaining saves the state time and money, allowing it to promptly impose punishment without expending resources. Id. at 322 (citing Town of Newton v. Rumery, 480 U.S. 386, 393 n.3 (1987)). Additionally, and "perhaps the most important benefit of plea bargaining, is the finality that results." Id. at 322.

The right of collateral attack in a criminal case is purely statutory. Abarca, 985 F.2d at 1014. A waiver of the right to collateral attack will be upheld where it was "knowing and voluntary." Id. A knowing and voluntary waiver is enforceable where the language of the waiver encompasses the grounds raised. See Patterson-Romo v. United States, No. 10-cr-3319, No. 12-cv-1343, 2012 WL 2060872, at *1 (S.D. Cal. June 7, 2012); United States v. Rahman, 642 F.3d 1257, 1259 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted) (discussing the right to appeal).

1. Knowing and Voluntary

The waiver of a statutory right to challenge a conviction or sentence is knowing and voluntary if the plea agreement as a whole was knowing and voluntary. See United States v. Jeronimo, 398 F.3d 1149, 1154 (9th Cir. 2005) (discussing the right to appeal) (overruled on other grounds); United States v. Portillo-Cano, 192 F.3d 1246, 1250 (9th Cir. 1999) ("waivers of appeal must stand or fall with the agreement of which they are a part") (internal quotations and citations omitted). A waiver will be considered knowing and voluntary where the plea colloquy satisfies Rule 11, and the record reveals no misrepresentation or gross mischaracterization by counsel that tainted the plea. See United States v. Sepulveda-Iribe, 197 Fed.Appx. 592, 592 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing Jeronimo, 398 F.3d at 1157 n.5) (discussing ...

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