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United States v. Castro-Prieto

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

April 23, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff/Respondent,
GERARDO CASTRO-PRIETO, Defendant/Petitioner.


EDWARD F. SHEA, District Judge.

On March 24, 2014, Mr. Castro-Prieto filed a Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody. ECF No. 48. After reviewing the record, the Court finds summary dismissal of the § 2255 motion is warranted because it is untimely and therefore Mr. Castro-Prieto is plainly not entitled to relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255; Rule 4, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2255. For the reasons set forth below, Mr. Castro-Prieto's § 2255 motion is denied.

A. Background

In 2006, Mr. Castro-Prieto was charged in four separate indictments in the Eastern District of Washington:

• CR-06-6008-EFS (Alien in the United States after Deportation in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326);
• CR-06-6012-EFS (Felon in Possession of a Firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1));
• CR-06-6049-EFS (Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A) and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)); and
• CR-06-6050-EFS (Felon in Possession of a Firearm in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)).

On September 12, 2006, Mr. Castro-Prieto entered a guilty plea, without a plea agreement, to the Alien in the United States After Deportation count in CR-06-6008-EFS ("Alien Count"). CR-06-6008-EFS, ECF No. 24. On September 27, 2006, Mr. Castro-Prieto entered a guilty plea to the Felon in Possession of a Firearm count in CR-06-6012-EFS ("Felon-with-Firearm Count"). In the Felon-with-Firearm Count plea agreement, the USAO agreed to recommend a sentence at the low end of the applicable Sentencing Guideline range and to recommend a concurrent sentence with the to-be-imposed sentence for the Alien Count. CR-06-6012-EFS, ECF No. 48.

On January 19, 2007, a change-of-plea hearing occurred in CR-06-6049-EFS, wherein Mr. Castro-Prieto pled guilty to Count 1 ("Drug-Trafficking-Firearm Count") in return for the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) dismissing Count 2 in CR-06-6049-EFS, as well as the single count in CR-06-6050-EFS. CR-06-6049-EFS, ECF No. 36. In the parties' binding Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement, the parties acknowledged that the Court was statutorily required to impose at least a five-year sentence for the Drug-Trafficking-Firearm Count. The parties asked the Court to impose a sentence of five years for the Drug-Trafficking-Firearm Count in CR-06-6049, as well as a consecutive five-year term of imprisonment for the Alien Count and Felon with Firearm Count that Mr. Castro-Prieto previously plead guilty to in CR-06-6008-EFS and CR-06-6012-EFS, respectively. CR-06-6049-EFS, ECF No. 36 ¶ 9. The Court accepted Mr. Castro-Prieto's guilty plea to the Drug-Trafficking-Firearm Count, but delayed accepting the binding plea agreement at that time.

On February 20, 2007, the Court held a hearing in all four criminal matters involving Mr. Castro-Prieto. In CR-06-6008-EFS, CR-06-6012-EFS, and CR-06-6049-EFS, the Court held sentencings. After reviewing the presentence investigation reports, sentencing-related material, and relevant authority, and hearing from counsel and Mr. Castro-Prieto, the Court accepted the parties' binding global sentencing recommendation for the three Counts to which Mr. Castro-Prieto pled guilty.[1] The Court sentenced Mr. Castro-Prieto to sixty months on the Alien Count and Felon-with-Firearm Count to run concurrently with each other, and sixty-months on the Drug-Trafficking-Firearm Count to run consecutive to the other two sentences, as required by 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i). CR-06-6049-EFS, ECF No. 42. The Court granted the USAO's motion to dismiss the second count in CR-06-6012-EFS and the indictment in CR-06-6050-EFS.

On September 26, 2013, Mr. Castro-Prieto sought relief from his sentences pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582 and the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. ECF No. 45. On October 17, 2013, the Court denied Mr. Castro-Prieto's motion. ECF No. 46.

Mr. Castro-Prieto filed the instant § 2255 motion on March 24, 2014. ECF No. 48. Mr. Castro-Prieto's motion asserts the following three claims:

1) Mr. Castro-Prieto is innocent of the Drug-Trafficking-Firearm Count and therefore should not have been sentenced pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924, nor should Sentencing Guideline § ...

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