Gomez-Santos v. United States, CIVIL 20-1322 (RAM)

CourtUnited States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
Writing for the CourtRAUL M. ARIAS-MARXUACH, United States District Judge
Docket NumberCIVIL 20-1322 (RAM)
Decision Date30 June 2022



CIVIL No. 20-1322 (RAM)

United States District Court, D. Puerto Rico

June 30, 2022


RAUL M. ARIAS-MARXUACH, United States District Judge

Pending before the Court is Petitioner Edwin Gomez-Santos's (“Petitioner” or “Gomez-Santos”) Motion Under 28 U.S.C. 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody (“Motion”). (Docket No. 1). Having considered the arguments of the parties, the Court DENIES Petitioner's Motion as untimely and procedurally defaulted. (Docket Nos. 1 and 13).


On August 15, 2013, Petitioner was indicted on six counts including “Conspiracy To Possess With Intent To Distribute Controlled Substances” (“Count One”), in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846 and 860, and “Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime” (“Count Six”), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A). (Criminal Case No. 13-0534-62, Docket Nos. 3 and 3384). On October 17, 2014, the parties filed a Plea


Agreement in which Petitioner pled guilty to Counts One and Six and the Government indicated it would seek dismissal of all remaining counts at sentencing. (Docket No. 2195). On June 4, 2014, Magistrate Judge Marcos E. Lopez issued a Report and Recommendation (“R & R”) recommending the Court accept Petitioner's guilty plea. (Docket No. 2262). On December 4, 2014, District Judge Carmen C. Cerezo, adopted the R & R and accepted Gomez-Santos's guilty plea. (Docket No. 2520).[1] As such, on June 1, 2015, he was sentenced to twenty-eight (28) months and sixteen (16) days for Count One and sixty (60) months for Count Six, for a total sentence of eightyeight (88) months and sixteen (16) days, in addition to Supervised Release for six (6) years as to Count One and five (5) years as to Count Six, to be served concurrently with each other. (Docket No. 3384). The sentence is also to be served concurrently with the sentence imposed in the state case, case no. E1CR201300100. Id. Per the Federal Bureau of Prisons' records, Petitioner was released on December 17, 2021, and is currently serving his term of Supervised Release.[2] (Civil Case No. 20-1322, Docket No. 13 at 1

On July 9, 2020, Petitioner filed his Motion. (Docket No. 1). He avers that due to the Supreme Court's decision United States v. Davis, 139 S.Ct. 2319 (2019), finding that 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B)'s


residual clause was unconstitutional, his firearm conviction under 18 U.S.C § 924(c) and consequent sentencing was unconstitutional as well. Id. Hence, he maintains he is entitled to a 60-month sentence reduction for that conviction. (Docket No. 1-1 at 5). He also claims that per the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit's opinion in United States v. Maupin, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 27180 (4th Cir. 2019), his protected-location enhancement should be removed. Id. at 5-6. Finally, he claims his counsel provided ineffective assistance under the Sixth Amendment by failing to request a credit for Petitioner's 15-month pretrial detention and failing to object to a purportedly incorrect Pre-Sentence Report. Id. at 8.

On May 24, 2022, the Government filed a Motion to Dismiss Petitioner's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (“Response”). (Docket No. 13). It primarily argues that Gomez-Santos's Motion is untimely and procedurally defaulted. Id. at 4-7.


28 U.S.C. § 2255(a) provides that:

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may
move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Moreover, § 2255(f) establishes that prisoners have a one-year period to file a motion requesting relief pursuant to this statute. Id. § 2255(f). This one-year filing period begins to run from the latest of:

(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action;
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.

Id. (emphasis added).


A. Petitioner's claims are untimely

Gomez-Santos was sentenced on June 1, 2015 and did not appeal. (Criminal Case No. 13-0534, Docket No. 3384; Civil Case No. 20 1322, Docket No. 13 at 4). Pursuant to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, when “appellate review is not sought, the judgment becomes a final judgment for habeas purposes once the deadline for filing a notice of appeal expires 14 days later.”


Fed. R. App. P. 4(b)(1); Alvarado-Cosme v. United States, 2021 WL 5749843, at *2 (D.P.R. 2021) (quoting Valdez-Aponte v. United States, 2021 WL 1565299, at *2 (D.P.R. 2021)). Thus, for purposes of § 2255(f)(1), Gomez-Santos's judgment of conviction became “final” on June 15, 2015, and he had until June 15, 2016, to file his § 2255 motion. The prisoner mailbox rule states, “a pro se prisoner's motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 or § 2254 is filed on the date that it is deposited in the prison's internal mail-system for forwarding to the district court, provided that the prisoner utilizes, if available, the prison's system for recording legal mail.” Morales-Rivera v. United States, 184 F.3d 109, 109 (1st Cir. 1999). Thus, under this rule, Gomez-Santos's filing date of July 9, 2020, was four years after his final judgment. (Civil Case No. 20-1322, Docket No. 1).

Petitioner's Motion is therefore untimely unless an equitable tolling exception to § 2255(f)(1) applies. See Dixon v. United States, 729 Fed.Appx. 16, 19 (1st Cir. 2018) (holding that...

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