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United States v. Banet

United States District Court, N.D. California

February 3, 2015



WILLIAM ALSUP, District Judge.


Defendant moves pro se to vacate, set aside, or correct his conviction, judgment, and sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255. For the reasons stated below, defendant's motion is DENIED.


Defendant was indicted on several counts of wire fraud and mail fraud on October 2, 2012. After a bail hearing, defendant was ordered released to a halfway house on a secured bond. Two months later, after an altercation at the halfway house, defendant was remanded into pre-trial custody. After defendant was remanded, his attorney, AFPD Jodi Linker, was relieved as counsel due to a conflict and Attorney Doron Weinberg was appointed as counsel. Defendant then moved to reinstate his previous pre-trial conditions. A hearing was held and when defense counsel stated that he could not come up with security for a bond, defendant was not released and the parties set a trial date (Dkt. Nos. 1, 4, 11, 24, 48, 59; Barton Decl. Exhs. 7, 11, 15).

On May 21, 2013, defendant pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud. Prior to his guilty plea, defendant and the undersigned judge engaged in a lengthy colloquy about the offense, the plea agreement, and the rights defendant was waiving by pleading guilty (including the right to appeal his conviction). On August 6, 2013, in accordance with the terms of the plea agreement, defendant was sentenced to 56 months in custody.

Now, defendant moves for collateral relief under Section 2255.


A federal prisoner making a collateral attack against the validity of his or her conviction or sentence must do so by filing a motion to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255, filed in the court which imposed sentence. Tripati v. Henman, 843 F.2d 1160, 1162 (9th Cir. 1988). Under Section 2255, the federal sentencing court may grant relief if it concludes that a prisoner in custody was sentenced in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States. United States v. Barron, 172 F.3d 1153, 1157 (9th Cir. 1999). To warrant relief, a defendant must demonstrate the existence of an error of constitutional magnitude which had a substantial and injurious influence on the guilty plea or the jury's verdict. Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S. 619, 637 (1993).

Defendant's petition raises ten separate grounds for relief. While defendant's claims are repetitive and overlapping, they can be separated into three categories: (1) claims stating that the conditions of his incarceration are unconstitutional; (2) claims relating to his pre-trial detention; and (3) claims asserting that his attorneys were unconstitutionally ineffective.


Throughout all of defendant's claims, he argues that the conditions of his incarceration were and are unconstitutional. He contends that during both his pre-trial detention and post-conviction imprisonment he has been mistreated, left in solitary confinement for too long, shackled during attorney and family visits, not afforded sufficient shower time, and received substandard medical care. While a Section 2255 petition is "the proper mechanism for a prisoner to challenge the legality or duration of confinement... [a] civil rights action, in contrast, is the proper method of challenging conditions of confinement." Badea v. Cox, 931 F.2d 573, 574 (9th Cir. 1991) (internal citations omitted). None of defendant's claims regarding the conditions of his confinement challenges the duration or legality of his confinement. Thus, defendant's Section 2255 motion is not the proper avenue for obtaining relief for these claims.


Defendant claims that one of his bail hearings was heard by a "substitute magistrate judge" who "will state on the record that she did not know anything about the case, but yet, she will sent [him] to jail that day rather than wait for Magistrate Judge Spero or District Magistrate Judge William Alsup to be back on the bench." He also alleges that after the halfway house incident that triggered his remand into pre-trial custody, the halfway house concealed a video of the incident and the "assistant district attorney" provided "coerced fabricated accounts" of the incident. Defendant also claims that the government illegally seized his property (Mot. 16-17, 19-20, 29-30). Defendant fails to state any cognizable claim for relief under Section 2255 because ...

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