Lee v. United States of America
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION. Signed by Judge L Scott Coogler on 10/17/2017. (PSM)
2017 Oct-17 PM 03:28
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
MARIO ANTON LEE,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
The Court has before it Petitioner Mario Anton Lee’s (“Lee’s”) Motion to
Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. 1.) For
the reasons set forth below, the motion will be denied.
This is not Lee’s first effort. In fact, Lee has been a frequent filer. After
being convicted in March 2001 of one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine
base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(b)(1)(C), one count of possession
with intent to distribute heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and §
841(b)(1)(C), one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(D), and three counts of money
laundering, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(A)(i); and after being sentenced
in June 2001 to a total sentence of 105 years imprisonment; and after having had his
conviction and sentence affirmed on direct appeal, Lee filed a Motion to Vacate,
Set Aside or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on September 29,
2003. See generally Lee v. United States, 2:03-cv-8039-LSC-RRA. That Motion was
denied by this Court on September 20, 2006. Lee attempted to appeal the ruling
denying him relief but was denied a Certificate of Appealability by the Eleventh
Circuit Court of Appeals.
This led Lee to file, on January 8, 2013, what he styled as a “Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 60(B) Motion.” That motion was denied on January 14, 2013. Lee
attempted to appeal but was denied a Certificate of Appealability by the Eleventh
Circuit on July 1, 2013.
Refusing to be deterred, on August 14, 2013, Lee filed another motion, this
time citing “Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure Section 3742(a)(1).” That motion
was denied on December 11, 2013. This Court expressly informed Lee that he must
seek authorization from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals before filing what is
in essence a successive § 2255 motion. Lee was once again denied a Certificate of
Appealability by the Circuit Court, this time on August 15, 2014.
Lee then filed what he styled a “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(4)(6)
Motion” on September 23, 2015. This Court denied that motion as another illegal
successive § 2255 motion on October 5, 2015.
On September 13, 2016, the Eleventh Circuit denied Lee’s direct request for
leave to file a successive § 2255 petition. Despite being denied permission from the
Eleventh Circuit, Lee nonetheless filed in this Court the instant § 2255 motion on
April 14, 2017.
Lee did not obtain an authorizing order from the Eleventh Circuit before
filing this motion. In fact, he was expressly denied one in September 2016.
Accordingly, this Court is precluded from considering the successive § 2255
motion. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 2255(h), 2244(b)(3)(A); see also United States v. Holt, 417
F.3d 1172, 1175 (11th Cir. 2005) (“Without authorization, the district court lacks
jurisdiction to consider a second or successive petition.”).
Lee’s § 2255 motion is due to be denied for lack of jurisdiction.
Additionally, pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules Governing § 2255
Proceedings, the Court has evaluated the claims within the petition for suitability
for the issuance of a certificate of appealability (“COA”). Rule 22(b) of the Federal
Rules of Appellate Procedure provides that when an appeal is taken by a petitioner,
the district judge who rendered the judgment “shall” either issue a COA or state
the reasons why such a certificate should not issue. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2253(c)(2), a COA may issue only when the petitioner “has made a substantial
showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” This showing can be established by
demonstrating that “reasonable jurists could debate whether (or for that matter,
agree that) the petition should have been resolved in a different manner” or that
the issues were “adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.” Slack v.
McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000) (citing Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 880, 893 &
n.4 (1983)). For procedural rulings, a COA will issue only if reasonable jurists could
debate whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional
right and whether the court’s procedural ruling was correct. Id.
The Court finds that reasonable jurists could not debate its resolution of the
claims presented in this habeas corpus petition. Accordingly, a COA will not issue
from this Court.
The Court will enter a separate order in conformity with this Memorandum
DONE and ORDERED on October 17, 2017.
L. Scott Coogler
United States District Judge
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