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United States v. Mattice

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

July 30, 2019




         This matter comes before the Court upon the Defendant's, Jasaun R. Mattice [hereinafter "Mr. Mattice" or "Defendant"], Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. ECF #220 . The United States of America filed a response. ECF #226 . Mr. Mattice filed an additional response, and a "Letter Rogatory for Relief." ECF #233, 234-1. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is DENIED.


         Between October and November of 2014, Mr. Mattice cashed thousands of dollars' worth of counterfeit checks. ECF# 1. He was originally charged in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and released on bond. On October 13, 2016, a federal grand jury indicted Mr. Mattice on 28 counts, including Bank Fraud, Possession of Counterfeit Securities, and Aggravated Identity Theft. Cuyahoga County dropped their charges against Mr. Mattice following the federal indictment.

         On October 26, 2016, Mr. Mattice was arrested on the federal charges and appeared before this Court for an initial appearance. ECF# 5. The Court appointed Attorney James Jenkins as Defendant's counsel and ordered the Defendant detained pending trial. ECF #5. While in detention, Mattice again engaged in counterfeiting checks from jail by ordering his accomplices to fraudulently forge and cash payroll checks. On April 26, 2017, a federal grand jury issued a Superseding Indictment against Mr. Mattice and three co-defendants: Brittany Metier, Curtis Hinton, and Reaunna Pass. ECF #44. Mr. Mattice appeared with counsel for a pretrial hearing on March 31, 2017. ECF#164. He expressed dissatisfaction with his counsel and the Court granted Mattice's request to proceed pro se, appointing Attorney Jenkins to act his stand-by counsel. Over the following months, the Court continued the case at Mr. Mattice's request and held several more pretrials to allow Mattice an opportunity to review the discovery and file motions. The Court scheduled Mattice's trial for January 24, 2018.

         On January 22, 2018, Mr. Mattice appeared before the Court for a final pretrial, again represented by Attorney Jenkins. After Mr. Mattice conferenced with his lawyer, the Court reconvened and Mr. Mattice pled guilty to the Superseding Indictment by way of a written plea agreement. ECF #127. The Court ensured that Mr. Mattice understood all of the Constitutional rights that he was waiving, that he had read and initialed each page of the plea agreement, and that he had not been threatened or coerced into pleading guilty. ECF# 171. The Court also had the AUSA read the entire plea agreement out loud before accepting Defendant's guilty plea. ECF #171.

         Prior to sentencing, Defendant's counsel filed a sentencing memorandum that addressed various mitigating factors. ECF#145. Defendant's counsel also filed four objections to the PSR: one objection to the four-level enhancement for Defendant's role as the leader of a scheme involving five or more participants, and three objections to the calculation of Mattice's criminal history score. ECF #140. The Court addressed and overruled each of these objections. The Court calculated Mattice's offense level as 17 and his criminal history category as V, which resulted in a preliminary Guidelines range of 46 to 57 months. ECF #175. The Court then incorporated the mandatory two-year consecutive sentence for aggravated identity theft into the Guidelines calculation, making Mattice's final advisory Guidelines range 70 to 81 months in prison. On May 2, 2018, the Court sentenced Mr. Mattice to a term of fifty-five months in the Bureau of Prisons on Counts 1-12, 13-24, and 29-44, to run concurrent; and to a term of twenty-four months on Counts 25-28, to run concurrent with each other, but consecutive the other fifty-five months for a total of 79 months in prison.

         Mr. Mattice, through Attorney Jenkins, filed a direct appeal with the Sixth Circuit, contending the district court failed to properly address the following factors at sentencing: "(I) that Mattice should have received a three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility rather than the two-level reduction he received, even though the Government did not move for the third level, (2) that the loss amount only marginally exceeded the $40, 000 threshold for an enhancement under the Guidelines, (3) that Mattice's codefendants received more lenient sentences than him, and (4) that Mattice should have received a downward departure from the Guidelines range". See United States v. Mattice, No. 18-3430, - Fed.Appx. --, 2019 WL 1056727 (6th Cir. 2019). The Sixth Circuit rejected all of Mattice's arguments and affirmed his sentence. Id. On May 6, 2019, Mattice filed this timely Motion to Vacate under Section 2255, raising twelve grounds for relief. ECF #220.


         Section 2255 of Title 28 of the United States Code states that a prisoner:

         in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground 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, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

         A petitioner who moves to vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, must show: "(1) an error of constitutional magnitude; (2) a sentence imposed outside the statutory limits; or (3) an error or fact or law that was so fundamental as to render the entire proceeding invalid." Mallet v. United States, 334 F.3d 491, 497 (6th Cir. 2003).

         It is well-established that "a defendant in a criminal case may waive any right, even a constitutional right, by means of a plea agreement." United States v. McGilvery, 403 F.3d 361, 362 (6th Cir. 2005). A defendant faces a significantly limited right to collaterally attack a sentence upon pleading guilty. The basic rule is that "a voluntary and intelligent plea of guilty made by an accused person who has been advised by competent counsel, may not be collaterally attacked." Mabry v. Johnson, 467 U.S. 504, 508 (1984). Generally, the only claims that such a prisoner can make are (1) that his plea was not voluntary and intelligent; (2) that he received ineffective assistance of counsel prior to entering the plea; or (3) that on the fact of the record it is clear that the district court had no power to enter the conviction or impose the sentence. Id; United States v. Broce, 488 U.S. 563, 569 (1989).

         This court has evaluated the Defendant's motion and the Government's response and has conducted a review of the record in this case. For the reasons set forth below, all of Petitioner's claims are DISMISSED.

1. GROUND I: Defendant waived his right to assert a jurisdictional claim by pleading guilty.

         Ground I asserts that Mr. Mattice's conviction "violates the Constitution and the laws of the United States and the court lacked jurisdiction to enter the judgment [because] the crimes alleged against him are state crimes involving local defendants, local police and a purely local situation. ECF #220. Claim one is procedurally defaulted because Mattice could have raised it on direct appeal, but failed to do so. Mabry,467 U.S. 504 at 508. Further, this claim fails on the merits. Mr. Mattice's attacks on the court's jurisdiction and the validity of federal statutes lack foundation. He was indicted for violating a federal statute, and therefore, the federal courts have jurisdiction over his case. His arguments regarding jurisdiction conflate ...

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