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Struna v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio

March 6, 2017

JOHN STRUNA, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          OPINION & ORDER [RESOLVING DOC. 34, 1:14-CR-275] [RESOLVING DOC. 1, 1:16-CV-2659]

          JAMES S. GWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         John Struna petitions for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.[1] Struna argues that his federal convictions are constitutionally infirm because of prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel. For the reasons below, the Court DENIES Struna's petition.

         I. Background

         On November 17, 2014, Petitioner John Struna pleaded guilty to having conspired to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, and money laundering.[2] On February 23, 2015, the Court sentenced Struna to 43 months imprisonment and ordered him to pay $2, 308, 272.29 in restitution.[3] Struna did not appeal.

         On October 31, 2016, Struna filed the instant § 2255 petition.[4] Struna argues that this Court should vacate his conviction, sentence, and restitution payments because of prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel.[5] Struna's arguments largely center around the government's alleged use of privileged information that Struna gave during a July 2013 proffer session. Struna argues that the government improperly used this proffer information to obtain Struna's conviction and that his trial attorney failed to object.[6]

         The government argues that Struna's petition is time-barred.[7]

         II. Legal Standard

         Title 28 United States Code Section 2255 gives a post-conviction means of collaterally attacking a federal conviction or sentence that violates federal law. Section 2255 provides four grounds upon which a federal prisoner may challenge his conviction or sentence:

1) That the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States;
2) That the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence;
3) That the sentence exceeded the maximum authorized by law; or
4) That the sentence is otherwise subject to collateral attack.[8]

         To prevail on a § 2255 motion alleging a constitutional error, the movant “must establish an error of constitutional magnitude which had a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the proceedings.”[9] Non-constitutional errors are generally outside the scope of § 2255 relief.[10] A defendant can only prevail when alleging a non-constitutional error by establishing a “‘fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice, ' or, an error so egregious that it amounts to a violation of due process.”[11]

         III. Discussion

         A. Petitioner Struna's untimely petition procedurally bars him from seeking § 2255 relief.

         Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), a one-year statute of limitations applies to § 2255 petitions. The limitations period begins to run from the latest of

(1)[t]he date on which the judgment of conviction became 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.[12]

         Petitioner Struna was sentenced on February 23, 2015, and judgment was entered the next day.[13] His conviction and sentence became final upon expiration of the fourteen-day period during which he could have appealed.[14] Thus, the deadline for filing a § 2255 petition was March 10, 2016. Struna's petition, filed on October 31, 2016, is time-barred.[15]

         B. Equitable tolling fails to save Petitioner ...


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