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Petrillo v. United States

May 6, 2010

JOHN PETRILLO, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Simandle, District Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the Court on an application by Petitioner John Petrillo for habeas corpus relief setting aside or correcting his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. On January 29, 2009, Petitioner pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, and conspiracy to obstruct justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. Through his plea agreement, Petitioner waived his right to collaterally attack his sentence, so long as the sentence imposed fell within or below the Sentencing Guidelines range for an offense level of 26. Plaintiff's sentence was below this range. His present habeas petition includes a series of vague, conclusory, and largely incomprehensible grounds for challenging his sentence. For reasons discussed herein, Petitioner's motion for habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 will be denied and his petition will be dismissed.

I. BACKGROUND

On January 29, 2009, Petitioner appeared before this Court in order to enter a guilty plea through proceedings consistent with Rule 11, Fed. R. Crim. P. The plea agreement included the following stipulation:

John Petrillo knows that he has and, except as noted below in this paragraph, voluntarily waives, the right to file any appeal, any collateral attack, or any other writ or motion, including but not limited to an appeal under § 18 U.S.C. § 3742 or a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which challenges the sentence imposed by the sentencing court if that sentence falls within or below the Guidelines range that results from a total Guidelines offense level of 26, and also which challenges a finding by the Court that Adjustment 3B1.3 applies. (Plea Agreement at 7, Resp't Exh. A.)

At the Rule 11 hearing Petitioner was represented by counsel. During the lengthy colloquy, Petitioner gave sworn testimony that he understood all aspects of his plea agreement, had reviewed the plea agreement with his attorney, and that he accepted the plea agreement, including the stipulations. (1/29/09 Tr. at 14-15.) Petitioner testified that he was pleading guilty of his own free will and that nobody had forced him to plead guilty. (Id. at 17-18, 21, 28, 59.) Petitioner testified that he understood that if his sentence was not greater than level 26, he was waiving his right to post conviction relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Id. at 55-58.)*fn1 The Court explained:

THE COURT: . . . there would be a right under Section 2255, for you to file a petition with me, as the sentencing judge, asking me to take a second look at this case and at the conviction and at the sentence, to set them aside alleging there's some impairment based on the U.S. Constitution or federal law. Do you understand that right?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

THE COURT: This says you wish to give up your right to such post-conviction relief as long as your sentence is not greater than Level 26. Do you understand that?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

(Id. at 57.) Petitioner admitted to the factual basis for both charges. (Id. at 31-54.) Further, Petitioner testified that he was "satisfied with the services and the efforts" of defense counsel, who helped him weigh the pluses and minuses of pleading guilty. (Id. at 12-13.)

On June 26, 2009 and July 20, 2009, Petitioner appeared again before the Court for a sentencing hearing. The Court sentenced Petitioner to a term of imprisonment of 40 months, well below the 51 to 63 month guideline range based on an offense conduct level 24, as found by the Court. (7/20/09 Tr. at 16-17, 23.)

On November 24, 2009, Petitioner filed the instant motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.*fn2 His moving papers are filled with largely incomprehensible and inapplicable accusations unsupported by any specific facts.*fn3 As best the Court can tell, Petitioner bases his motion on the following general allegations: (1) bias on the part of the Court; (2) "prosecutorial misconduct;" (3) duress; and (4) ineffective assistance of counsel. To the extent that Petitioner narrows his allegations at all,*fn4 he targets his defense attorney, accusing him of taking a bribe and failing to obtain discovery. (Habeas Motion at 7.) In their Answer, the United States argues that Petitioner has waived his right to collaterally attack his conviction under 28 U.S.C. ยง 2255 and that he has failed to present sufficient facts to show that the waiver was not knowing and voluntary, or that it would result in manifest injustice. Respondent similarly argues that Petitioner has not offered facts to support a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. In response, Petitioner asserts that his defense counsel "actually coerced Petitioner into pleading guilty, instead of investigating the totality of the evidence," and that "counsel failed in his duties to ...


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