Steven Villalona v. USA
Opinion issued by court as to Appellant Steven Justin Villalona. Decision: Vacated and Remanded. Opinion type: Non-Published. Opinion method: Per Curiam. The opinion is also available through the Court's Opinions page at this link http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions.
Date Filed: 03/12/2018
Page: 1 of 2
[DO NOT PUBLISH]
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
D.C. Docket Nos. 6:14-cv-00162-GKS-DAB,
STEVEN JUSTIN VILLALONA,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Middle District of Florida
(March 12, 2018)
Before WILSON, WILLIAM PRYOR and JORDAN, Circuit Judges.
Steven Villalona, a federal prisoner, appeals pro se the denial of his motion
to vacate his sentence. 28 U.S.C. § 2255. We issued a certificate of appealability to
Date Filed: 03/12/2018
Page: 2 of 2
address “whether Villalona was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his claim that
his counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to withdraw his guilty plea
before the district court accepted the plea.” A defendant retains the right to
withdraw his plea “for any reason or no reason” until “the [district] court accepts
the plea.” See Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(d)(1). The United States concedes that the
district court abused its discretion when it denied Villalona an evidentiary hearing
because his allegations about promptly instructing his trial counsel to file a motion
to withdraw, if true, would establish both that his counsel performed deficiently
and that the deficient performance prejudiced his defense. See Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687, 697 (1984). Because Villalona’s “motion and the
files and records of the case [fail to] conclusively show that [he] is entitled to no
relief,” see 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b), we vacate the order that denied Villalona’s
motion to vacate and remand for the district court to hold an evidentiary hearing to
determine whether the failure of counsel to file a motion to withdraw Villalona’s
plea amounted to ineffective assistance.
VACATED AND REMANDED.
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