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Chantharath v. United States

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

November 25, 2014

VIENGXAY CHANTHARATH, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

ORDER DENYING § 2255 MOTION

KAREN E. SCHREIER, District Judge.

Petitioner, Viengxay Chantharath, moves to vacate, correct, or set aside his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Chantharath is incarcerated in a Bureau of Prisons facility. Respondent opposes his motion.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Chantharath was charged in a Seventh Superseding Indictment with one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine. Cr. Docket 498.[1] Prior to trial, Chantharath moved to suppress all evidence and statements obtained from an investigative traffic stop "on the ground that this stop violated the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution." Cr. Docket 229. Chantharath argued for suppression based in part on a lack of reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop that led to his arrest. Cr. Docket 230 at 3-6 (sealed memorandum in support of motion to suppress).

On October 1, 2010, Magistrate Judge John Simko held a hearing on Chantharath's motion to suppress. Cr. Docket 281. Following the hearing, Magistrate Judge Simko issued a report and recommendation recommending that the motion to suppress be denied based in relevant part on the finding that the officers did have reasonable suspicion to stop the van in which Chantharath was a passenger. Cr. Docket 284. No objections were filed to the report and recommendation, and after de novo review, this court adopted the report and recommendation in full and denied the motion to suppress. Cr. Docket 348. Subsequently, Chantharath was found guilty by a jury of conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine. Cr. Docket 614. Prior to trial, the government filed a notice pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851 alleging that Chantharath was subject to a mandatory term of life imprisonment based on two prior felony drug convictions. Cr. Docket 590. Based on those prior convictions, Chantharath was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment without release. Cr. Docket 680.

Chantharath appealed and argued that, among other issues, this court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained as the result of the traffic stop. United States v. Chantharath, 705 F.3d 295 (8th Cir. 2013). The Eighth Circuit affirmed Chantharath's conviction, finding specifically that "there was ample evidence to justify an investigatory stop." Id. at 303. Chantharath filed a Petition for Rehearing and Petition for Rehearing En Banc, which petitions were denied. Cr. Docket 821. The United States Supreme Court denied Chantharath's Petition for Writ of Certiorari on October 7, 2013. Cr. Docket 832.

On July 9, 2013, Chantharath filed a motion for relief from final judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). Cr. Docket 828. Subsequently, Chantharath moved to construe his Rule 60(b) motion as a motion under § 2255. Cr. Docket 830. This court denied Chantharath's Rule 60(b) motion but ordered the clerk to open a new matter under § 2255.[2] Cr. Docket 831. After Chantharath submitted the proper paperwork, the court ordered the government to respond. Civ. Docket 8.

In his § 2255 motion, Chantharath presents a single issue:[3] whether the traffic stop leading to his arrest violated his Fourth Amendment rights because officers executing a search warrant may not detain an individual who has already left the area under the exception found in Michigan v. Summers, 452 U.S. 692 (1981). See Civ. Docket 5 at 5 (citing Bailey v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 1031 (2013)).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A § 2255 motion is the "statutory analog of habeas corpus for persons in federal custody." Poor Thunder v. United States, 810 F.2d 817, 821 (8th Cir. 1987). A federal prisoner may seek relief from his sentence on the grounds 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[.]" 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Relief may be granted under § 2255 only for "transgressions of constitutional rights and for a narrow range of injuries that could not have been raised on direct appeal and, if uncorrected, would result in a complete miscarriage of justice." United States v. Apfel, 97 F.3d 1074, 1076 (8th Cir. 1996). Because a § 2255 motion is "not a substitute for direct appeal, " Auman v. United States, 67 F.3d 157, 161 (8th Cir. 1995), claims not raised in the district court or on direct appeal may be procedurally defaulted.

DISCUSSION

I. Procedural Default

Chantharath did not raise this particular Fourth Amendment challenge at trial or on direct appeal.[4] "Where a defendant has procedurally defaulted a claim by failing to raise it on direct review, the claim may be raised in a habeas action only if the defendant can first demonstrate either cause and actual prejudice, or ...


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