United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO VACATE UNDER
28 U.S.C. § 2255 [DOC. NO. 133]
MICHAEL M. ANELLO, United States District Judge
30, 2014, a jury found Defendant Lloyd Irvin Taylor guilty of
three counts of making a false statement on a United States
passport application, in violation of Title 18, United States
Code, section 1542; one count of engaging in a corrupt
endeavor to obstruct and impede the due administration of the
Internal Revenue laws, in violation of Title 26, section
7212(a); two counts of tax evasion, in violation of Title 26,
section 7201; seven counts of making a false statement to a
federally insured financial institution, in violation of
Title 18, section 1014; and five counts of aggravated
identity theft, in violation of Title 18, section 1028A.
See Doc. No. 98. On November 17, 2014, the Court
sentenced Defendant to a 57 month term of imprisonment, five
years of supervised release, and restitution in the amount of
$2, 241, 691.08, to the victim, the Internal Revenue Service.
See Doc. No. 113.
now collaterally challenges his conviction and sentence
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See Doc. Nos.
133, 138, 140. Defendant raises multiple claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel. The government has filed a
response, to which Defendant replied. See Doc. Nos.
144, 145. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES
defendant in a federal criminal case collaterally challenges
his conviction or sentence, he must do so pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255. Tripati v. Henman, 843 F.2d
1160, 1162 (9th Cir. 1988). Under section 2255, a court may
grant relief to a defendant who challenges the imposition or
length of his incarceration on the ground that: (1) the
sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws
of the United States; (2) the court was without jurisdiction
to impose such sentence; (3) the sentence was in excess of
the maximum authorized by law; or (4) the sentence is
otherwise subject to collateral attack. 28 U.S.C. §
2255(a). A defendant must allege specific facts that, if
true, entitle him to relief. See United States v.
Howard, 381 F.3d 873, 877 (9th Cir. 2004); United
States v. Rodrigues, 347 F.3d 818, 824 (9th Cir. 2003)
Court is not required to hold an evidentiary hearing when the
issues can be conclusively decided on the basis of the
existing record. 28 U.S.C. § 2255; see United States
v. Schaflander, 743 F.2d 714, 717 (9th Cir. 1984)
(citing United States v. Hearst, 638 F.2d 1190, 1194
(9th Cir.1980)). The Court declines to hold an evidentiary
hearing in this case because the motion, on its face,
conclusively demonstrates that Defendant is not entitled to
raises eight separate claims of ineffective assistance of
counsel. To prevail on such a claim, a defendant must show
both that his counsel's performance fell below an
objective standard of reasonableness, and that the deficiency
in his counsel's performance prejudiced him.
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 688 (1984).
There is a “strong presumption” that
counsel's conduct was reasonable. Id. at 689. To
establish deficient performance, a defendant must demonstrate
that counsel did more than just commit an error, but rather
that counsel performed outside the “wide range of
professionally competent assistance.” Id. at
690. With respect to prejudice, a defendant must demonstrate
a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's
unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would
have been different. Id. at 694. A “reasonable
probability” means “[t]he likelihood of a
different result must be substantial, not just
conceivable.” Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S.
86, 112 (2011).
Claim One: Dismissal of Count 4
argues in his first claim that trial counsel provided
ineffective assistance by failing to move for dismissal of
Count 4 of the Superseding Indictment. Defendant was charged
in Count 4 with corruptly obstructing and impeding and
endeavoring to obstruct and impede the administration of the
Internal Revenue Code, in violation of Title 26, Section
7212(a), which provides in pertinent part:
Whoever corruptly . . . obstructs or impedes, or endeavors to
obstruct or impede, the due administration of this title,
shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than $5,
000, or imprisoned not more than 3 years, or both . . .
26 U.S.C. § 7212(a). Defendant contends that his trial
counsel should have moved to dismiss the charge because the
statute is unconstitutionally vague as applied to him, as the
words “obstructs or impedes” did not place
Defendant on notice that his charged acts were prohibited.
Superseding Indictment charged Defendant with (a) opening and
maintaining financial accounts in the names of stolen
identities; (b) opening and maintaining financial accounts in
the names of non-existent churches; (c) paying for personal
expenses with funds from these nominee financial accounts;
and (d) converting his funds to gold coins and other precious
metals. Each of these acts results in a misrepresentation of
the state of Defendant's finances to the IRS, and by
necessary implication, obstructs and impedes the IRS from
administering the internal revenue laws applicable to
Defendant. Thus, Defendant had notice that his conduct was
unlawful. Moreover, every circuit to consider a vagueness
challenge to Section 7212(a) has found the statute
constitutional. See United States v. Reeves, 752
F.2d 995 (5th Cir. 1985); United States v. Bostian,
59 F.3d 474 (4th Cir. 1994); United States v.
Hanson, 2 F.3d 942 (9th Cir. 1993); United States v.
Mitchell, 985 F.2d 1275 (4th Cir. 1993); United
States v. Yagow, 953 F.2d 423 (8th Cir. 1992);
United States v. Popkin, 943 F.2d 1535 (11th Cir.