Martinez-Castillo v. USA
ORDER: The Clerk of Court is directed to mail a copy of this order to Movant. The Court further directs the Clerk of Court to vacate the order to answer in No. 17-CV-762 (ECF No. 3) and to administratively close the action under docket number 17-CV-2 134 (NSR). The Court directs Movant, within thirty days, to: (1) notify the Court in writing if he wishes to withdraw his application under docket number 17-CV-762 (NSR) pending resolution of his direct appeal, without prejudice to refiling; or (2) f ile an amended § 2255 motion under docket number in No. 17-CV-0762 raising all of his grounds for relief. The notice of withdrawal or amended motion must be submitted to this Court's Pro Se Intake Unit within thirty days of the date of this order and bear the docket number 17-CV-762 (NSR). For Movant's convenience, an § 2255 Motion form is attached to this order. Because Movant has not at this time made a substantial showing of a denial of a constitutional right, a certificat e of appealability will not issue. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253. The Court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that any appeal from this order would not be taken in good faith and therefore in for ma pauperis status is denied for the purpose of an appeal. See Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 444-45 (1962). (Signed by Judge Nelson Stephen Roman on 5/24/2017) (rj)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
EDDY RAFAEL MARTINEZ CASTILLO,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
NELSON S. ROMAN, United States District Judge:
Movant, currently incarcerated at Moshannon Valley Correctional Facility in
Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, brings this pro se application styled as a "Motion Under the
28 U.S.C. 2255 and Reconsideration and Reduction of Sentencing and 782 Amend and
the New Law of Immigration 2.L.1.1." He challenges the legality of his conviction in
United States v. Martinez-Castillo, No. 16-CR-368 (NSR) (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 21, 2016).
Movant has already challenged the same conviction in a pending § 2255 motion, which
the Court ordered Respondent to answer. Martinez-Castillo v. United States, No. 17-CV762 (NSR) (S.D.N.Y.) (ECF No. 3).
For the reasons set forth below, the Court vacates the order in No. 17-CV-762
directing Respondent to answer the motion. The Comt directs Movant, within thirty days,
to: (1) notify the Court if he wishes to withdraw his application under docket number 17CV-762 (NSR), pending resolution of his direct appeal from the conviction; or (2) file an
amended§ 2255 motion under docket number in No. 17-CV-762, in which he raises all
of his grounds for relief.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A prisoner in federal custody may bring a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255
attacking his conviction or sentence on the grounds that it violates the Constitution or
United States law, was imposed without jurisdiction, exceeds the maximum penalty, or is
otherwise subject to collateral attack. 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Under Rule 4(b) of the Rules
Governing § 2255 Proceedings, the Court has the authority to review and deny a § 2255
motion before directing an answer. "[I]f it plainly appears from the motion, any attached
exhibits, and the record of prior proceedings that the moving party is not entitled to
relief." Rules Governing§ 2255 Proceedings, Rule 4(b); see Acosta v. Nunez, 221 F.3d
117, 123 (2d Cir. 2000). The Court is obliged to construe prose pleadings liberally and
interpret them "to raise the strongest arguments they suggest." Triestman v. Fed Bureau
ofPrisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474-75 (2d Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks and citations
omitted) (emphasis in original); see Green v. United States, 260 F.3d 78, 83 (2d Cir.
2001 ). A pro se litigant, nevertheless, is not exempt "from compliance with relevant rules
of procedural and substantive law." Triestman, 470 F.3d at 477 (citing Traguth v. Zuck,
710 F.2d 90, 95 (2d Cir. 1983)).
In United States v. Martinez-Castillo, No. 16-CR-368 (NSR) (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 21,
2016), Movant Eddy Rafael Martinez Castillo pied guilty to conspiracy to distribute and
possession with intent to distribute heroin under 21 U.S.C. § 846 and was sentenced to 58
months' imprisonment. The Court entered judgment on November 21, 2016, and
Maitinez Castillo filed a notice of appeal (ECF No. 53). His direct appeal from the
conviction remains pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
See United States v. Martinez-Castillo, No. 17-312 (2d Cir.)
In addition to his pending appeal, in February 2017, Martinez-Castillo filed an
application that was opened on the Court's docket as a § 2255 motion. See MartinezCastillo v. United States, No. 17-CV-762 (NSR). In that motion, Movant argues that his
sentence should be reduced based on Amendment 782 to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines
(U.S.S.G.) and thus it appears to be in whole or in part a motion for a sentence reduction
under 18 U.S.C. § 3582. 1
Movant's new application, opened under docket number 17-CV-2134 (NSR), is
labeled as a "Motion Under the 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and Reconsideration and Reduction of
Sentencing and 782Amend and the New Law oflmmigration 2.L.1.1." In this new
application, Movant argues among other things that: ( 1) his sentence should be reduced
based on Amendment 782 to the U.S.S.G.; (2) his guilty plea was not knowing and
voluntary; and (3) his conviction should be vacated either under Johnson v. United States,
135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), which struck down as unconstitutionally vague the Armed Career
Criminal Act's definition of"violent felony," or under Sessions v. Dimaya, No. 15-1498,
a pending Supreme Court action involving a challenge to a criminal-removal provision in
the immigration laws.
See, e.g., United States v. Perez, No. 08-CR-0429-06 (DLC), 2016 WL 4775536
(S.D.N.Y. Sept. 14, 2016) (holding that the proper vehicle to seek a sentence reduction
under an amendment to the guidelines that the United States Sentencing Commission has
made retroactive is a motion under 18 U.S.C. § 3582, not a motion under§ 2255).
Section 2255 "is generally the proper vehicle for a federal prisoner's challenge to
his conviction and sentence." Jiminian v. Nash, 245 F.3d 144, 146-47 (2d Cir. 2001). In
almost all cases, a movant has only one opportunity to bring a § 2255 motion challenging
a particular judgment within the applicable limitations period. 2
A motion to vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence must conform to the Rules
Governing Section 2255 Cases. Rule 2(b) requires a motion to specify all of a movant's
available grounds for relief, setting forth the facts supporting each of the specified
grounds and stating the relief requested. A motion must permit the Court and the
respondent to comprehend both the movant's grounds for relief and the underlying facts
and legal theory supporting each ground so that the issues presented in the motion may be
Because a prisoner generally has only one opportunity for a full adjudication of
his claims in a motion under § 2255, courts must grant an opportunity to withdraw an
application that is not clearly labeled as a § 2255 motion before recharacterizing it as a
§ 2255 motion, Adams v. United States, 155 F.3d 582, 584 (2d Cir. 1998) (per curiam).
Moreover, when a second § 2255 motion is filed before a fust § 2255 motion that
challenges the same conviction is final, district courts must treat the second § 2255
A federal prisoner seeking relief under§ 2255 generally must file a motion
within one year from the latest of four benchmark dates, that is, when: (1) the judgment
of conviction becomes final; (2) a government-created impediment to making such a
motion is removed; (3) the right asserted is initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if
it has been made retroactively available to cases on collateral review; or (4) the facts
supporting the claim(s) could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(t).
motion as an amendment to the pending motion rather than as a successive motion. See
Ching v. United States, 298 F.3d 174 (2d Cir. 2002). In addition, district courts generally
dismiss a § 2255 motion as premature when it is filed while a direct appeal is pending.
United States v. Outen, 286 F.3d 622, 632 (2d Cir. 2002) ((holding that although "there is
no jurisdictional bar to a district court's adjudication of a § 2255 motion during the
pendency of a direct appeal," such review should proceed only in extraordinary
circumstances because "the results on direct appeal may make the district court's efforts
on the § 2255 motion a nullity").
Here, Movant's direct appeal from the conviction is pending, his first § 2255
motion has not been resolved, and his second application is not clearly labeled as a
§ 2255 motion. The Court therefore directs Movant, within thirty days of this order, to
either: (1) notify the Court in writing ifhe wishes to withdraw his pending application in
17-CV-762, without prejudice to refiling after the Court of Appeals for the Second
Circuit resolves his direct appeal from the conviction; or (2) file an amended § 2255
motion, labeled with docket number 17-CV-762, in which he raises all of the grounds on
which he challenges his conviction. 3 Because Movant has an opportunity to raise all of
addition to filing a single amended§ 2255 motion, ifMovant has grounds for relief
that are properly brought as a motion for a reduction of sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582,
he may file a separate motion labeled as a "motion for a reduction of sentence under 18
U.S.C. § 3582" in the criminal case under docket number No. 16-CR-368 (NSR). The
Court notes, however, that Amendment 782 to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which
Movant references in his applications, was enacted on November 1, 2014, though
U.S.S.G. lBl.10 provides that "The court shall not order a reduced term of imprisonment
based on Amendment 782 unless the effective date of the court's order is November 1,
2015, or later." Because Amendment 782 was in effect before Movant's sentencing (or
even his arrest), he likely has already received any benefit available to him under that
his grounds for challenging his conviction in a single § 2255 motion in 17-CV-762, the
Court will direct the Clerk of Comt to administratively close the second application, filed
under docket number 17-CV-2134.
IfMovant intends to proceed with a§ 2255 motion notwithstanding his pending
direct appeal from the conviction, and files an amended§ 2255 motion in l 7-CV-762
raising all of his grounds for relief, the Court will review the amended § 2255 motion and
determine at that time whether to order Respondent to answer.
The Clerk of Court is directed to mail a copy of this order to Movant. The Court
further directs the Clerk of Court to vacate the order to answer in No. 17-CV-762 (ECF
No. 3) and to administratively close the action under docket number l 7-CV-2134 (NSR).
The Court directs Movant, within thirty days, to: (1) notify the Court in writing if
he wishes to withdraw his application under docket number l 7-CV-762 (NSR) pending
resolution of his direct appeal, without prejudice to refiling; or (2) file an amended
§ 2255 motion under docket number in No. 17-CV-0762 raising all of his grounds for
relief. The notice of withdrawal or amended motion must be submitted to this Court's Pro
Se Intake Unit within thirty days of the date of this order and bear the docket number 17CV-762 (NSR). For Movant's convenience, an § 2255 Motion form is attached to this
Because Movant has not at this time made a substantial showing of a denial of a
constitutional right, a certificate of appealability will not issue. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253.
The Court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that any appeal from this
order would not be taken in good faith and therefore in for ma pauperis status is denied
for the purpose of an appeal. See Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 444-45
Dated: (Y\ °"""\ 2- '+ , '-<> l I
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