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Oludola Akinmola v. United States of America

April 9, 2012

OLUDOLA AKINMOLA,
PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



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

OPINION

Before the Court is the United States of America's ("Respondent" or "Government") Motion to Dismiss ("Motion") Petitioner Oludola Akinmola's ("Petitioner" or "Akinmola") motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. This Motion is decided without oral argument pursuant to Fed R. Civ. P. 78. For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS Respondent's Motion and DECLINES to issue a certificate of appealability.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On November 24, 2008, Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") agents arrested Petitioner and his co-conspirators for their involvement in a multi-national identity theft ring. (Resp't Answer 1, 2.) Pursuant to a search warrant, the FBI conducted a search of Petitioner's residence, which revealed two suitcases containing documents in the names of stolen identities and Petitioner's "black book" of stolen identity information. (Id.) Subsequently, Akinmola was charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1439 ("Count 1") and aggravated identity theft in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2 ("Count 2").

On April 24, 2009, the Government sent Akinmola's attorney a plea agreement. On June 12, 2009, Akinmola signed the plea agreement. (Plea Agreement.) Pursuant to the plea agreement, the parties agreed that a sentence within the stipulated guidelines range was reasonable and Petitioner agreed to waive his right to file any appeal or collateral attack provided the Court's sentence was within or below the guidelines range contained within the plea agreement. (Plea Agreement, Schedule A, ¶¶ 11-12.) Specifically, the parties agreed that Level 18, which has a sentencing range of twenty-seven to thirty-three months, was the appropriate total offense level under the United States Sentencing Guidelines for Count 1. (Id. ¶ 9.) The parties also agreed that Akinmola was required to serve a mandatory two year consecutive sentence for Count 2. (Id. ¶ 10.) With regard to Petitioner's waiver of appeal, the plea agreement provided in relevant part:

Akinmola knows that he has and, except as noted below in this paragraph, voluntarily waive[d], 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 the agreed total Guidelines offense level of 18 (for Count One) plus 24 months' consecutive imprisonment (for Count Two). (Id. ¶ 12) (emphasis added).

Akinmola signed the plea agreement and acknowledged the following: "I have received this letter from my attorney, Stephen Goldenberg, Esq., I have read it, and I understand it fully. I hereby accept the terms and conditions set forth in this letter and acknowledge that it constitutes the plea agreement between the parties." (Plea Agreement 6.)

On August 10, 2009, Akinmola entered a guilty plea before this Court. This Court conducted an extensive plea colloquy to determine that Akinmola understood the plea agreement. (Plea Tr., August 10, 2009.) The pertinent portions of the plea colloquy follow:

THE COURT: Are you currently under the influence of any type of medication or any medical substance that would affect your ability to understand and appreciate the significance of entering a plea of guilty here today?

THE DEFENDANT: Not that I know of.

THE COURT: Are you on any type of medication? THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

THE COURT: What type of medication?

THE DEFENDANT: Anti-depressant . . . [and] [b]lood pressure pills . .

THE COURT: Okay. And to the best of your knowledge, do any of these substances affect your ability to understand and comprehend?

THE DEFENDANT: No.

THE COURT: Okay. Have you had a complete opportunity to speak with Mr. Goldenberg with respect to the significance of entering a plea of guilty and the fact that you are waiving your right to trial in this matter?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am.

THE COURT: And has he answered all of your questions?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am.

THE COURT: Now . . . Is it fair to say that you do read, write and understand the English language?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am. ..

THE COURT: Now, you've completed a form here today that's entitled: An application for permission to enter a plea of guilty. . . . .

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

THE COURT: And was this document explained to you in its entirety and what's set ...


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