Mendoza v. Stephens
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER denying 42 MOTION for Relief from Final Judgment. it is further ORDERED that no certificate of appealability shall issue.(Signed by Judge Kenneth M Hoyt) Parties notified.(sanderson, 4)
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
January 11, 2018
David J. Bradley, Clerk
CIVIL ACTION NO. 4:14-CV-3460
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Guadalupe Mendoza pled guilty in the 263rd District Court of Harris County, Texas to
one charge of indecency with a child, and two charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child
brought as three separate causes. That court sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment on the
indecency charge, and 75 years imprisonment on each of the aggravated sexual assault
charges, to run concurrently. Texas’ Fourteenth Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment and
the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (“TCCA”) refused Mendoza’s petition for discretionary
review. Mendoza v. State, Nos. 14-06-00627-CR, 14-06-00628-CR, 14-06-00629-CR, 2007
WL 704955 (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] Mar. 8, 2007)(pet. ref’d).
Mendoza filed three separate state habeas corpus applications challenging the three
convictions. The TCCA denied all three without written order on the findings of the trial
court. SH-021 (Doc. # 28-10) at cover; SH-03 (Doc. # 29-1), at cover; SH-04 (Doc. # 29-9)
On January 28, 2016, this Court denied Mendoza’s petition for a writ of habeas
corpus, finding that he received effective assistance of counsel in connection with his guilty
“SH” refers to the transcripts of Mendoza’s state habeas corpus proceedings.
plea, that his plea was knowing and voluntary, and that his plea waived all non-jurisdictional
defects. See Doc. # 32. The Fifth Circuit denied Mendoza’s request for a certificate of
appealability. Mendoza v. Davis, No. 16-20121 (5th Cir. Feb. 13, 2017). Mendoza now
seeks relief from the judgment under Rule 60(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Rule 60(b)(3) provides for relief from a judgment in the event of fraud. Mendoza
claims that the respondent committed fraud on the Court by filing a transcript of his guilty
plea when the record on Mendoza’s direct appeal suggested that the plea was never
The only evidence of fraud cited by Mendoza is two signatures by the court reporter
on pages attached to Mendoza’s motion. Mendoza claims that one of the signatures spells
the reporter’s first name “Jacqueline” and the other spells it “Jacquiline.” A review of the
signatures, however, does not support Mendoza’s claim that the names are spelled
It does appear that that the transcript was not made available on direct appeal. In the
absence of any evidence of fraud, that appears to be the result of a clerical error. The error,
however, does not merit relief because the transcript in question is amply supported by
written documents containing Mendoza’s plea and his acknowledgments of the possible
punishment range, the fact that he was entering the plea with no sentence recommendation,
and acknowledging the rights he waived by pleading guilty. See Doc. # 28-13. Mendoza
does not claim that the documents containing his written waivers and acknowledgements are
fraudulent. Therefore, even if the Court assumes that the transcription of the plea allocution
is in some way improper, the written plea documents are more than sufficient to support the
Court’s decision denying Mendoza’s petition. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Mendoza’s
motion for relief from the judgment (Doc. # 42) is DENIED. It is FURTHER ORDERED
that no certificate of appealability shall issue.
SIGNED on this 10th day of January, 2018.
Kenneth M. Hoyt
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?