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Lira-Zaragoza v. United States

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

June 27, 2013

GONZALO LIRA-ZARAGOZA, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REGARDING PETITIONER'S SECTION 2255 MOTION

MARK W. BENNETT, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This case is before me on petitioner Gonzalo Lira-Zaragoza's Pro Se Motion For Relief Pursuant to Federal Rule Of Civil Procedure 60(b) and 52(B)(Civ. docket no. 1), filed on January 2, 2013, which I have construed as a Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence By A Person In Federal Custody. See Civ. docket no. 2. Lira-Zaragoza claims that his trial counsel provided him with ineffective assistance in various ways. The respondent denies that Lira-Zaragoza is entitled to any relief on his claims.

A. The Criminal Proceedings

On March 21, 2012, Lira-Zaragoza was charged by a one-count Indictment (Crim. docket no. 2) with illegally re-entering the United States after a prior deportation. On March 30, 2012, Lira-Zaragoza appeared in front of then Chief United States Magistrate Judge Paul A. Zoss to plead not guilty to the Indictment. See Crim. docket no. 10.

On April 26, 2012, Lira-Zaragoza appeared before Judge Zoss to change his plea to guilty to the Indictment. See Crim. docket no. 21. On April 26, 2012, Judge Zoss filed his Report And Recommendation Concerning Plea Of Guilty, recommending acceptance of Lira-Zaragoza's guilty plea. See Crim. docket no. 22. I filed an Order Regarding Magistrate's Report And Recommendation Concerning Defendant's Guilty Plea, accepting Lira-Zaragoza's guilty plea, on April 26, 2012. See Crim. docket no. 25.

On July 25, 2012, Lira-Zaragoza, by counsel, filed a Motion For Downward Variance (Crim. docket no. 34), based on the remoteness in time of the prior felony that led to Lira-Zaragoza's deportation from the United States and the instant offense. See Petitioner's Brief at 3.

Lira-Zaragoza appeared before me on August 1, 2012, for a sentencing hearing. See Crim. docket no. 35. I found that Lira-Zaragoza's total offense level was 21 with a criminal history category of IV, for an advisory United States Sentencing Guideline range of 57 to 71 months. See Sent. Trans. at 11. I granted Lira-Zaragoza's Motion for downward variance, and sentenced Lira-Zaragoza to 50 months. See Sent. Trans. at 12.

B. The § 2255 Motion

On January 2, 2013, Lira-Zaragoza filed a Pro Se Motion for relief (Civ. docket no. 1) ("Motion"), which I subsequently construed as a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See docket no. 2. The Respondent filed an Answer (Civ. docket no. 3), on January 4, 2013. On April 8, 2013, counsel appointed to represent Lira-Zaragoza in this matter filed a Petitioner's Brief (Civ. docket no. 6), addressing the issues raised by Lira-Zaragoza. The Respondent filed its Response To Defendant's Motion (Civ. docket no. 7), on April 16, 2013.

II. LEGAL ANALYSIS

A. Standards For § 2255 Relief

Section 2255 of Title 28 of the United States Code provides as follows:
A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground [1] that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or [2] that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or [3] that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or [4] is otherwise subject to ...

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