Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Steffey

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 7, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
BILLY STEFFEY, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION TO VACATE SENTENCE AND GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF NOS. 421, 434)

          ANDREW P. GORDON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Defendant Billy Steffey believes his attorney botched his case (although he does not explain how). He moves to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.

         Steffey's motion is meritless because he provides no facts to support any of his arguments. He provides only vague legal contentions, such as that his attorney "did not explore all avenues" of his case. Without any facts to support his arguments, it is impossible to afford Steffey any relief. But even if he has provided some bases for his claims, he waited too long to challenge his sentence. Steffey is time-barred under § 2255 from challenging his sentence. I thus deny his motion and grant the government's motion to dismiss.

         Discussion

         A. Background

         Steffey pleaded guilty to participating in a massive credit card racketeering scheme[1] and was sentenced on August 7, 2014.[2] He did not appeal. There was a discrepancy between the amount of restitution in Steffey's judgment and the amount that he had agreed to. So I entered an amended judgment with the proper amount of restitution in April 2015.[3]

         Well over a year after his original judgment, on April 15, 2016, Steffey filed his motion to vacate under § 2255.[4] The government, in turn, moved to dismiss because Steffey waited too long to challenge his sentence.[5]

         B. Steffey's motion to vacate fails.

         Steffey's motion to vacate first fails because he provides no factual basis for any of his arguments. His motion is a collection of conclusory legal arguments reiterating that his attorney was ineffective, but without any fact explaining how. This would be enough to deny his motion.[6]

         But Steffey's motion is also barred because it is untimely. He failed to challenge his sentence within one year of the expiration of the deadline to file his appeal, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2255.[7] After a defendant exhausts his direct appeal, his ability to challenge his sentence is severely limited. Among other things, § 2255 required that Steffey challenge his sentence within one year from the date that his time to file a direct appeal expired.[8] Steffey's deadline to file his direct appeal expired in 2014.[9] Because he filed his challenge in 2016, his motion is untimely.

         Steffey contends that his deadline should be tolled for two reasons: (1) some other things happened in this case after his original judgment, which should delay the deadline, and (2) he was diligent in filing his motion but was prevented from doing so by outside circumstances.

         Steffey's first argument fails because nothing that happened in this case is a valid basis for tolling § 2255's filing deadline. Although a minor adjustment was made to the restitution amount in his judgment, the Ninth Circuit has made clear that this does not toll the deadline. In U.S. v. Gilbert, the Ninth Circuit explained that because defendants can challenge only their conviction under § 2255-not the amount of restitution they must pay-"it would make no sense to let [defendants] restart the statute of limitations under § 2255 from an amended judgment that addressed only the specific amount of restitution."[10]

         Nor has Steffey shown that he was diligent in filing his motion to vacate and that some extreme circumstance preventing him from doing so. I may equitably toll § 2255's one-year deadline if (1) Steffey has "been pursuing his rights diligently, " and (2) "some extraordinary circumstance" prevented him from filing his motion on time.[11] "[T]he threshold necessary to trigger equitable tolling ... is very high."[12] "[A] pro se petitioner's lack of legal sophistication is not, by itself, an extraordinary circumstance warranting equitable tolling."[13]

         Steffey has shown neither that he was diligent in pursuing his rights or that some extraordinary impediment prevented him from filing his motion. Although Steffey asked for an attorney to help him with his § 2255 filing, he has no right to counsel at this stage and he was able to file other motions with the court-so this would not explain why he did not file his § 2255 motion earlier. Steffey claims to have been housed in a "special housing unit, " but he does not explain how this prevented him from filing his motion. Indeed, Steffey was able to file other letters with the court during ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.