U.S. v. Cervantes, No. 96-10659

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore JOLLY, DAVIS and BARKSDALE; E. GRADY JOLLY
Citation132 F.3d 1106
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ludevina Ayala CERVANTES, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 96-10659
Decision Date27 January 1998

Page 1106

132 F.3d 1106
39 Fed.R.Serv.3d 1207
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Ludevina Ayala CERVANTES, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 96-10659.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.
Jan. 27, 1998.
Rehearing Denied March 30, 1998.

Page 1107

Delonia Anita Watson, Christopher Allen Curtis, Asst. U.S. Atty., Dallas, TX, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Ludevina Ayala Cervantes, Fort Worth, TX, pro se.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Before JOLLY, DAVIS and BARKSDALE, Circuit Judges.

E. GRADY JOLLY, Circuit Judge:

Ludevina Ayala Cervantes appeals the district court's denial of her petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Cervantes pled guilty to distribution of cocaine and entered into a plea agreement. The agreement included a waiver of the right to appeal her sentence. Despite the waiver, Cervantes attempted to appeal her sentence on direct appeal, but we dismissed the appeal based on the waiver. Cervantes then filed a petition for habeas relief with the district court. She

Page 1108

alleged that the judge had incorrectly calculated her sentence. She further alleged that defense counsel had rendered ineffective assistance by inducing her to plead guilty based on misrepresentations as to what her sentence would be. The district court denied habeas relief. It held that sentencing issues are not cognizable under section 2255 and that the record of the sentencing hearing conclusively refuted any claim of inducement. On this appeal, Cervantes renews her claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and further contends that her waiver of the right to appeal her sentence was invalid. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
I

On October 6, 1992, Cervantes was indicted by a Grand Jury and charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and two substantive counts of distribution of cocaine. At rearraignment on September 7, 1993, Cervantes, represented by counsel, entered a guilty plea to one count of distribution of cocaine under 21 U.S.C. § 841. The plea agreement included a waiver of her right to appeal any sentence ultimately imposed. At the sentencing hearing four months later, Cervantes received a sentence of 97 months in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fifty dollar special assessment.

Despite the appeal waiver provision in her plea agreement, Cervantes filed a motion for leave to appeal IFP, which the district court granted, appointing Cervantes's previous counsel to represent her on appeal. On January 11, 1994, Cervantes filed a notice of appeal to this court. In March, the government responded with an unopposed motion to dismiss the appeal based on the appeal waiver. We dismissed the appeal on April 1, 1994.

On May 23, 1995, Cervantes filed a section 2255 petition for habeas relief. She contended that the court incorrectly calculated her sentence and that her counsel had rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance. Specifically, Cervantes alleged that the court erred by basing its sentence on the total amount of cocaine involved in the alleged conspiracy rather than the smaller amount she sold to an undercover agent. She further alleged that defense counsel was ineffective because he induced her to plead guilty with misrepresentations as to the sentence she would receive, he failed to challenge the amount of cocaine used to calculate her sentence, and he failed to prosecute the appeal of her sentence. The government filed an answer, asserting that Cervantes's challenge of her sentence was not cognizable under section 2255 and, in any event, the appeal had been waived in the plea agreement. The government also responded that Cervantes's inducement claim was refuted by her sworn testimony at the plea hearing.

Cervantes then filed an "amendment to section 2255 motion," in which she requested that the district court accept two affidavits in support of her ineffective assistance of counsel claim. One affidavit, given by her sister Becky Ayala, stated that when she was at Cervantes's counsel's office, she heard him tell Cervantes that if she pleaded guilty and signed the plea agreement, Cervantes would receive only three to five years in prison based on an agreement with the government. The affidavit also asserted that on the day Cervantes was sentenced, her counsel told Cervantes he would file an appeal, but that later, he told her not to call him again. The other affidavit, given by Cervantes's other sister, Delphie Whiteman, and her husband, stated that Cervantes's counsel had assured them Cervantes would receive no more than five years in prison based on an agreement with the government.

On May 17, 1996, the district court denied Cervantes's section 2255 motion without an evidentiary hearing "for the reasons stated in the Government's answer." The court held that Cervantes's "amendment" to the motion would not be considered because it was received after the government's answer was filed, and Cervantes had not sought leave of court to file it. The court further concluded that, even if the affidavits were properly admitted, the facts asserted therein were effectively refuted by the terms of the plea agreement and by Cervantes's own statements under oath at the sentencing hearing.

Cervantes filed the present appeal. Although she had not requested a certificate

Page 1109

of appealability ("COA") from the district court, we treated her notice of appeal as an application for such and granted Cervantes a COA on whether the appeal waiver provision in her plea agreement was valid--which now appears to have been raised for the first time in this appeal--and whether her guilty plea was improperly induced. 1 In addition to these issues, Cervantes renews her claims that the district court erred in calculating her sentence and that her counsel was ineffective for not properly objecting to the amount of drugs used to calculate her sentence. Also, for the first time on appeal, Cervantes contends (1) that counsel was ineffective for not having requested a downward departure under the Sentencing Guidelines based on her family circumstances; (2) that the district court failed to comply with Rule 11; and (3) that the government breached the plea agreement by failing to make a specific sentencing recommendation.
II

As a threshold matter, we consider our standard of review and the extent to which Cervantes's claims are cognizable under section...

To continue reading

Request your trial
636 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Lumbreras-Amaro, Criminal No. H-07-0055.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • November 6, 2008
    ...or waiver of the right to direct appeal, [courts] presume a defendant stands fairly and finally convicted." United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1109 (5th Cir.1998). "As a result, review of convictions under [§ ] 2255 ordinarily is limited to questions of constitutional or jurisdictio......
  • Rupert v. Johnson, Civil Action No. SA-98-CA-31-OG.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • July 8, 1999
    ...(5th Cir. 1975). 104. Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 73-74, 97 S.Ct. 1621, 1629, 52 L.Ed.2d 136 (1977); United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1110 (5th Cir.1998); see also Lott v. Hargett, 80 F.3d 161, 168 (5th Cir.1996); DeVille v. Whitley, 21 F.3d 654, 659 (5th Cir.1994), cert. ......
  • United States v. Feliciano-Francisco, 5:13cr32/RH/EMT
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Florida
    • June 1, 2021
    ...2014) (ineffective assistance of counsel claim presented for the first time in section 2255 reply waived); United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1111 (5th Cir. 1998) (district court does not abuse its discretion in refusing to consider new issues raised in a section 2255 reply brief af......
  • U.S. v. Moody, Criminal Action No. 06-204.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • March 6, 2009
    ...the likely merit of [his] allegations." United States v. Edwards, 442 F.3d 258, 264 (5th Cir.2006) (quoting United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1110 (5th Cir.1998)); see also United States v. Cavitt, 550 F.3d 430, 441-42 (5th Cir.2008). If the court determines that an evidentiary hea......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
633 cases
  • U.S. v. Lumbreras-Amaro, Criminal No. H-07-0055.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • November 6, 2008
    ...or waiver of the right to direct appeal, [courts] presume a defendant stands fairly and finally convicted." United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1109 (5th Cir.1998). "As a result, review of convictions under [§ ] 2255 ordinarily is limited to questions of constitutional or jurisdictio......
  • Rupert v. Johnson, Civil Action No. SA-98-CA-31-OG.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • July 8, 1999
    ...(5th Cir. 1975). 104. Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 73-74, 97 S.Ct. 1621, 1629, 52 L.Ed.2d 136 (1977); United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1110 (5th Cir.1998); see also Lott v. Hargett, 80 F.3d 161, 168 (5th Cir.1996); DeVille v. Whitley, 21 F.3d 654, 659 (5th Cir.1994), cert. ......
  • United States v. Feliciano-Francisco, 5:13cr32/RH/EMT
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Florida
    • June 1, 2021
    ...2014) (ineffective assistance of counsel claim presented for the first time in section 2255 reply waived); United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1111 (5th Cir. 1998) (district court does not abuse its discretion in refusing to consider new issues raised in a section 2255 reply brief af......
  • U.S. v. Moody, Criminal Action No. 06-204.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • March 6, 2009
    ...the likely merit of [his] allegations." United States v. Edwards, 442 F.3d 258, 264 (5th Cir.2006) (quoting United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1110 (5th Cir.1998)); see also United States v. Cavitt, 550 F.3d 430, 441-42 (5th Cir.2008). If the court determines that an evidentiary hea......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT