United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING 28 U.S.C. § 2255 PETITION
L. ROBART, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is Petitioner Rohit Reddy's habeas corpus
petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside, or
correct his sentence. (Pet. (Dkt. # 1).) Respondent United
States of America (“the Government”) filed an
answer to the petition. (Answer (Dkt. # 5).) Mr. Reddy did
not respond to the Government's answer. (See
Dkt.; see also 3/4/19 Order (Dkt. # 4) at 2
(explaining that the Government “shall note the Answer
for consideration on the fourth Friday after it is
filed” and “Petitioner may file a responsive
brief no later than the Monday immediately preceding the
noting date.”).) The court has reviewed the petition,
the parties' submissions concerning the petition, the
relevant portions of the record, including the record of the
underlying criminal case, and the applicable law. Being fully
advised,  the court DENIES Mr. Reddy's petition.
1, 2016, Mr. Reddy, who is not a United States citizen,
pleaded guilty to one count of Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (“SNAP”) Benefit Fraud.
See United States v. Reddy, No. CR16-0189JLR (W.D.
Wash.), Dkt. # 7 (“Plea”). His crime involved
knowingly violating 7 U.S.C. § 2024 and related
regulations by acquiring or using more than $100 of SNAP
benefits. Id. ¶ 3. At sentencing, the court
determined that the loss amount associated with Mr.
Reddy's crime was $95, 001.00. (See Answer, Ex.
3 (“Sentencing Tr.”) at 60:15-23, 63:13-16);
Reddy, No. CR16-0189JLR, Dkt. # 28
(“Judgment”) at 6. The court sentenced Mr. Reddy
to 14 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised
release. See Reddy, No. CR16-0189JLR, Judgment at
Reddy now brings a habeas petition alleging ineffective
assistance of counsel. (See Pet. at 4.) In
particular, Mr. Reddy asserts that his counsel led him to
believe that the court would find a loss amount under $10,
000.00, which would make it “very unlikely that [he]
would be deported.” (See Statement (Dkt. #
1-2) at 4.) With a $95, 001.00 loss amount, however, Mr.
Reddy is subject to mandatory deportation. (Id. at
4.) Mr. Reddy claims that, had his attorney not misadvised
him about the loss amount associated with his guilty plea and
the likelihood of his deportation, Mr. Reddy “would
have gone to trial or requested a plea agreement with a
binding stipulation as to loss under $10, 000.”
(Id. at 5.)
Title 28 United States Code § 2255
prisoner in federal custody may collaterally challenge his
sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on “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 . . .
.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). A court must hold an
evidentiary hearing on a § 2255 petition “[u]nless
the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively
show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief.” 28
U.S.C. § 2255(b). “[N]o hearing is required if the
allegations, viewed against the record, either fail to state
a claim for relief or are so palpably incredible or patently
frivolous as to warrant summary dismissal.” Shah v.
United States, 878 F.2d 1156, 1158 (9th Cir. 1989)
(internal quotation marks omitted).
the court concludes that an evidentiary hearing is
unnecessary. The record provides a sufficient basis on which
to judge Mr. Reddy's ineffective assistance of counsel
claim. Accordingly, the court exercises its discretion not to
hold an evidentiary hearing. See id.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Sixth Amendment right to counsel exists, and is needed, in
order to protect the fundamental right to a fair
trial.” Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S.
668, 684 (1984). To establish a Sixth Amendment violation for
ineffectiveness of counsel, a petitioner must establish that
(1) counsel's performance was deficient, and (2)
counsel's deficient performance prejudiced his defense.
Id. at 687. Counsel's performance was deficient
if counsel “made errors that a reasonably competent
attorney acting as a diligent and conscientious advocate
would not have made.” Butcher v. Marquez, 758
F.2d 373, 375-76 (9th Cir. 1985). Because of the difficulties
of evaluating attorney performance in hindsight, “[a]
fair assessment of attorney performance requires that every
effort be made . . . to evaluate the conduct from
counsel's perspective at the time.”
Strickland, 466 U.S. at 689.
Strickland two-prong analysis applies to ineffective
assistance of counsel challenges concerning guilty pleas.
Washington v. Lampert, 422 F.3d 864, 872-73 (9th
Cir. 2005). In the context of a plea bargain, the prejudice
requirement is met by showing that, but for counsel's
alleged errors, the petitioner would have rejected the plea
offer. Id.; see also Weaver v. Palmateer,
455 F.3d 958, 967 (9th Cir. 2006). Further, counsel's
failure to “advise her client regarding the risk of
deportation” stemming from a plea agreement is grounds
for an ineffective assistance of counsel finding. See
Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 367-68 (2010). Where
removal is “presumptively mandatory, ”
counsel's performance is deficient by giving “false
assurance” that a conviction will not result in
removal. Id. at 368-69. In other words, “when
the deportation consequence is truly clear, ” counsel
must “give correct advice.” Id. at 369.
However, in “situations in which the deportation
consequences of a particular plea are unclear or uncertain .
. . a criminal defense attorney need do no more than advise a
noncitizen client that pending criminal charges may carry a
risk of adverse immigration consequences.” Id.
addressing a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel need
not address both prongs of the Strickland test if
the petitioner's showing is insufficient as to one prong.
Weaver, 455 F.3d at 697. “If it is easier to
dispose of an ineffectiveness claim on the ground of lack of