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Jones v. United States

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 28, 2018

LUKE JONES, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION TO VACATE, SET ASIDE, OR CORRECT SENTENCE

          Victor A. Bolden United States District Judge

         On September 24, 2015, Luke Jones filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus, moving to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(4). Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence, filed Sept. 24, 2015 (“Mot.”), ECF No. 1. On April 28, 2017, the United States of America (“the Government”) filed a memorandum in opposition to the motion to vacate. Memorandum in Opposition re Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence, filed Apr. 28, 2017 (“Gov't's Mem.”), ECF No. 8.

         Because Mr. Jones's application is a successive one, this Court has no jurisdiction and must transfer it, in the interest of justice, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (the “Second Circuit”), without addressing the merits. See 28 U.S.C § 1631; 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h).

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations

         On October 30, 2003, in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, before the Honorable Alan H. Nevas, Mot. at 1, .a jury convicted Mr. Jones of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1962(e), Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) (Count One), 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d), RICO Conspiracy (Count Two), 18 U.S.C. § 846, conspiracy to possess and to distribute 5, 000 grams of cocaine, 1, 000 grams of heroin, and 50 grams of cocaine-base (Counts Five and Six), 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5), VCAR: Conspiracy to Murder Lawson Day (Count Eighteen), and 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5), VCAR: Conspiracy to Murder Anthony Scott (Count Twenty-One). Fifth Superseding Indictment, annexed as Ex. 1 to Gov't's Mem., ECF No. 8-1.

         On January 7, 2004, Judge Nevas sentenced Mr. Jones to life imprisonment on Counts One, Two, Five and Six, and ten years imprisonment on Counts Eighteen and Twenty-One, all to run concurrently with each other. Judgment, dated Jan. 7, 2004, annexed as Ex. 2 to Gov't's Mem., ECF No. 8-2. Mr. Jones appealed his conviction and sentence. The Second Circuit affirmed the conviction but ordered a Crosby remand in light of the United States Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005). See United States v. Jones, 482 F.3d 60 (2d Cir. 2006); see also United States v. Crosby, 397 F.3d 103, 117 (2d Cir. 2005) (holding that remand was warranted where sentencing judge, before Booker, committed procedural error in imposing sentence, to afford judge opportunity to determine, based on circumstances at time of original sentence, whether original sentence would have been nontrivially different post-Booker).

         Following the Second Circuit's remand, Mr. Jones filed a motion for resentencing, which was subsequently denied by the Court and affirmed by the Second Circuit. See United States v. Jones, 294 Fed.Appx. 624, 628 (2d Cir. 2008).

         On March 26, 2010, Mr. Jones filed his first application for a writ of habeas corpus, seeking to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence, filed Mar. 26, 2010, No. 10 CV 467, ECF No. 1. The Court denied the motion on the merits on July 20, 2011. See Ruling Denying Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence, filed July 20, 2011, No. 10 CV 467, ECF No. 16 (Dorsey, J.). Mr. Jones then filed a motion for reconsideration, which the Court denied without issuing a certificate of appealability, finding that Mr. Jones had “made no substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” See Ruling Denying Motion for Reconsideration, filed Feb. 16, 2012, No. 10 CV 467, ECF No. 19 (Burns, J.).

         Mr. Jones appealed, and on March 25, 2013, the Second Circuit issued a Mandate denying his motion for a certificate of appealability and dismissing the appeal. Mandate, annexed as Ex. 3 to Gov't's Mem., ECF No. 8-3.

         B. Procedural History

         On September 24, 2015, Mr. Jones filed a new motion in this Court to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(4). See Mot. On April 22, 2016, the Court ordered the Government to show cause why the Court should not grant the motion to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence. Order to Show Cause, filed Apr. 22, 2016, ECF No. 3. On April 13, 2017, the Court issued another Order to Show Cause, again requiring the Government to file a response to Mr. Jones's application. Order, Apr. 13, 2017, ECF No. 7.

         On April 28, 2017, the Government filed its opposition, arguing that the motion should be construed as a claim under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h)(1) based on the claim of newly discovered evidence that allegedly calls into question the effectiveness of his trial counsel and the legality of his RICO, RICO Conspiracy, and narcotics trafficking convictions, and the Court therefore should transfer Mr. Jones's motion to the Second Circuit for review. See Gov't's Mem. Mr. Jones responded on May 12, 2017. See Petitioner's Reply to Gov't's Opposition, filed May 12, 2017 (“Pet'r's Reply”), ECF No. 9. He subsequently filed a motion to amend his motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. Motion to Amend, filed Jan. 12, 2018, ECF No. 10.

         II. ...


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