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Seale v. United States

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 27, 2018

ARTHUR D. SEALE, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          HONORABLE ANNE E. THOMPSON U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner Arthur D. Seale is proceeding pro se with a motion to correct, vacate, or set aside his federal sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF No. 1).

         1. Petitioner pled guilty to a seven-count indictment for his role in the 1992 kidnapping and attempted ransom of Sidney J. Reso, president of an Exxon subsidiary. The plot ultimately resulted in Mr. Reso's death. Petitioner was sentenced to 95 years in prison with a five-year term of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $1.75 million fine and $350 in special assessments. See United States v. Seale, No. 92-cr-0372 (D.N.J. Dec. 3, 1992).[1]

         2. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed and remanded for recalculation of the fine. United States v. Seale, 20 F.3d 1279, 1281-82 (3d Cir. 1994). The Honorable Garrett E. Brown, Jr., D.N.J., resentenced Petitioner to a $75, 000 fine on July 18, 1994.

         3. Over twenty years later, Petitioner filed this motion under § 2255 raising three grounds for relief: (1) his sentence is unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court's recent decisions in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) and Sessions v. Dimaya, 138 S.Ct. 1204 (2018); (2) his sentence is unconstitutional in light of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); and, (3) his federal sentence should be concurrent to his state sentence.

         4. The Court must now review the motion under the Rules Governing § 2255 Proceedings. As Petitioner is proceeding pro se, his petition is held to less stringent standards than those pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Rainey v. Varner, 603 F.3d 189, 198 (3d Cir. 2010) ("It is the policy of the courts to give a liberal construction to pro se habeas petitions.") (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); United States v. Otero, 502 F.3d 331, 334 (3d Cir. 2007) ("[W]e construe pro se pleadings liberally.") (citing Raines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)).

         5. Nevertheless, "[i]f it plainly appears from the motion, any attached exhibits, and the record of prior proceedings that the moving party is not entitled to relief, the judge must dismiss the motion and direct the clerk to notify the moving party." 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Rule 4(b).

         6. Presuming this Court has jurisdiction, [2] the motion is barred by the one-year statute of limitations under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA").

         7. AEDPA's limitation period runs from the latest of four dates:

(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action;
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the ...

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