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Bracciodieta v. United States

July 6, 2010

CHARLES BRACCIODIETA, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



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

HONORABLE JOSEPH E. IRENAS

OPINION

Before the Court is Petitioner's two-count Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For the reasons set forth below, both counts will be denied without an evidentiary hearing.

I.

As the basic facts of this case are recited in the Third Circuit's opinion disposing of Petitioner's direct appeal, see U.S. v. Bracciodieta, 335 F. App'x 231 (3d Cir. 2009), only a brief recitation of the relevant facts is necessary. In September, 2005, Petitioner robbed two banks on two separate occasions.*fn1 He pled guilty to a two-count information charging him with bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and 2.

In the instant matter, Petitioner asserts two claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. First, Petitioner asserts that prior to his guilty plea, his counsel's performance was constitutionally deficient because she allegedly failed to object, or intentionally waived any objection, to the Government's alleged Speedy Trial Act violation. Second, Petitioner asserts that at sentencing, his counsel failed to object to allegedly erroneous negative statements the Government made about Petitioner.

In response to the Petition, the Government asserts that Petitioner's application is untimely and that his claims were raised and rejected in his direct appeal. Both arguments are clearly flawed.*fn2 However, on the merits, Petitioner's claims fail.

II.

Section 2255 provides, in pertinent part, that: A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255; see also Rules Governing § 2255 Cases, Rule 1(a). Thus, Petitioner is entitled to relief only if he can establish that he is in custody in violation of federal law or the Constitution.

A district court is given discretion in determining whether to hold an evidentiary hearing on a § 2255 application. See Gov't of the V.I. v. Forte, 865 F.2d 59, 62 (3d Cir. 1989). In exercising that discretion, the court must first determine whether the Petitioner's claims, if proven, would entitle him to relief, and then consider whether an evidentiary hearing is needed to determine the truth of the allegations. See Zettlemoyer v. Fulcomer, 923 F.2d 284, 291 (3d Cir. 1991). Accordingly, a district court may summarily dismiss a § 2255 application without a hearing where the "motion, files, and records 'show conclusively that the movant is not entitled to relief.'" U.S. v. Nahodil, 36 F.3d 323, 326 (3d Cir. 1994) (quoting U.S. v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 41-42 (3d Cir. 1992)); Forte, 865 F.2d at 62.

III.

The Government's procedural objections require only brief discussion before turning to the merits of Petitioner's claims.

First, the Government asserts that Petitioner's claims are time-barred by the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), which establishes a one-year window for filing a § 2255 petition after the "date on which the conviction becomes final." 28 U.S.C. § 2255. However, according to the Government's own analysis, which is correct, Petitioner filed this § 2255 ...


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