Quintero-Felix v. United States of America
ORDER denying 5 Motion to Deem Allegations Admitted. Signed by Judge Mark W Bennett on 8/17/15. (djs)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PETITIONER’S MOTION TO DEEM
This case is before the court on petitioner Jesus Quintero-Felix’s Motion to Deem
Allegations Admitted (docket no. 5). Quintero-Felix claims respondent’s answer to his
Motion To Vacate Sentence and Judgment Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 does not comply
with Rule 5(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings nor with Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. Quintero-Felix argues that respondent is required to admit or deny
each factual allegation in his motion. Quintero-Felix cites scant authority to support his
position except three cases construing Rule 5 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.
Respondent filed a timely resistance to Quintero-Felix’s Motion to Deem Allegations
Respondent asserts that its answer denying the allegation of ineffective
assistance of counsel satisfies the Rules governing § 2255 actions and Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b). Thus, respondent argues that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8(b)(6), which provides the remedy for failing to file a responsive pleading, is
“The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern habeas proceedings unless
superseded by the rules governing section 2254 or 2255 cases.” Barnett v. Roper, 541
F.3d 804, 807 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 81(a)(4)); see also Rules Governing
§ 2255 Proceedings, R. 12 (“The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules
of Criminal Procedure, to the extent that they are not inconsistent with any statutory
provisions or these rules, may be applied to a proceeding under these rules.).
Quintero-Felix challenges the adequacy of respondent’s answer to his § 2255
motion, contending that, because that answer failed to comply with Rule 5 of the Rules
Governing § 2255 Cases, I should deem admitted all of the factual allegations in QuinteroFelix’s § 2255 motion. Both Quintero-Felix’s premise and his conclusion are incorrect.
Rule 5(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings states:
The answer must address the allegations in the motion. In
addition, it must state whether the moving party has used any
other federal remedies, including any prior post-conviction
motions under these rules or any previous rules, and whether
the moving party received an evidentiary hearing.
Rules Governing § 2255 Proceedings, R. 5(b). Quintero-Felix’s motion lists as the sole
ground for relief “Ineffective Assistance of Counsel.” Motion at ¶ 12(A). No supporting
facts are alleged in the body of the motion. Instead, the motion directs the reader to “See
Memorandum of Law attached hereto.”
Respondent’s answer satisfied the
requirements of Rule 5(b) because it addressed the allegation of ineffective assistance of
counsel by denying that claim; stated that Quintero-Felix has not used any other federal
remedies; and stated that Quintero-Felix has not received an evidentiary hearing.
Quintero-Felix’s reliance on Williams v. Calderon, 52 F.3d 1465 (9th Cir. 1995)
is misplaced. Calderon did not involve a § 2255 motion, but a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Moreover, the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals clearly held, in Calderon, that an answer need not provide a “fact-by-fact”
response to the petition:
Williams challenges the adequacy of respondent
Calderon's answer to his habeas petition, contending that
because that answer failed to comply with Rule 5 of the Rules
Governing § 2254 Cases, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254, the answer
should be stricken and this case returned to the district court
for the filing of a new answer. We disagree with both
Williams' premise and his conclusion.
When an answer to a petition is ordered pursuant to
Rule 4, Rule 5 requires “[t]he answer [to] respond to the
allegations of the petition.” The purpose of the answer is to
frame the issues in dispute, as well as to ferret out
unmeritorious petitions. See Advisory Committee Notes to
Rule 5. Neither Rule 5, nor the Advisory Notes, nor
subsequent case law set out any further restrictions on the
form of the answer, unlike Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
8(b) and 8(d), which require fact-by-fact responses.
Nothing about Calderon's answer violated Rule 5. The
answer responded to the petition on the merits, laying out the
state's alternative view of the facts and the law. Nothing in
Rule 5 prohibits the form used to frame the legal and factual
issues. Moreover, to the extent that the answer failed to
adequately frame the issues for the district court, any harm
became irrelevant once the district court issued a final
decision. If Williams has a grievance, it must be with that
decision, not the filings that preceded it.
Calderon, 52 F.3d at 1483. Similarly, in another § 2254 case cited by Quintero-Felix,
Ebert v. Clarke, 320 F.Supp.2d 902, 904 n.4 (D. Neb. 2004), the court concluded that
“the respondent in answering would not be required to admit or deny each of the
petitioner's factual allegations.”
Alternatively, even if I were to conclude that respondent was required to admit or
deny each of the factual allegations contained Quintero-Felix’s § 2255 motion, respondent
has done so. As I previously noted, there are no supporting facts alleged in the body of
Quintero-Felix’s § 2255 motion. Instead, the motion directs the reader to the attached
memorandum of law. Thus, there are no facts in the body of Quintero-Felix’s § 2255
motion for respondent to address in its answer. Accordingly, Quintero-Felix’s motion is
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED this 17th day of August, 2015.
MARK W. BENNETT
U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA
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