United States District Court, District of Columbia
PHILLIP ERIC ALONZO DUCKETT, Defendant, Pro Se.
Plaintiff, represented by Sherri Lee Berthrong, U.S.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. FRIEDMAN, District Judge.
matter is before the Court on three related motions filed by
defendant Phillip Eric Alonzo Ducket: two motions to vacate
his sentence under 28 U.S.C. Â§ 2255, one filed in Criminal
No. 66-1124 and one in Criminal No. 67-0880, and one motion
to correct an ambiguous sentence pursuant to Rule 35(a) of
the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure filed in Criminal No.
67-0880. The Court will deny all three motions.
August 15, 1967, defendant Phillip Eric Alonzo Duckett was
sentenced to one to three years' imprisonment for
unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in an unrelated case,
Criminal No. 66-0159. See Exhibit A to the Government's
Motion to Dismiss at 39-41, United States v. Duckett,
Criminal No. 66-1124 [Dkt. No. 7-2]. On December 15, 1967,
defendant was sentenced in Criminal No. 66-1124 to three to
nine years' imprisonment for carnal knowledge and one to
three years' imprisonment for housebreaking, the counts
"to run concurrently but consecutively with" the
sentence imposed in Criminal No. 66-0159. Exhibit B to the
Government's Motion to Dismiss at 8, United States v.
Duckett, Criminal No. 66-1124 [Dkt. No. 7-3]. And, finally,
on January 24, 1969, defendant was sentenced in Criminal No.
67-0880 to ten to thirty years' imprisonment for rape,
"with said sentence to run consecutively with the [one
year] to [three year] sentence imposed in [Criminal No.
66-0159]; the [three year] to [nine year] sentence imposed in
[Criminal No. 66-1124]...." Exhibit C to the
Government's Motion to Dismiss at 6, United States v.
Duckett, Criminal No. 66-1124 [Dkt. No. 7-4].
court of appeals affirmed defendant's conviction in
Criminal No. 66-1124 on March 12, 1969. Duckett v. United
States, 410 F.2d 1004 (D.C. Cir. 1969). His petition for
rehearing was denied on May 28, 1969 and he did not file a
petition for a writ of certiorari.
court of appeals similarly affirmed defendant's
conviction in Criminal No. 67-0880 on February 17, 1970. See
Exhibit D to the Government's Motion to Dismiss at 6,
United States v. Duckett, Criminal No. 66-1124 [Dkt. No.
7-5]. His petition for a writ of certiorari was denied on May
18, 1970. Duckett v. United States, 398 U.S. 912 (1970).
three motions, defendant argues that the sentencing court, in
Criminal Case No. 67-0880, imposed an ambiguous and illegal
sentence and that his appointed counsel rendered ineffective
assistance of counsel in failing to protect his Fifth and
Sixth Amendment rights. Pro se complaints are held to
"less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted
by lawyers, " Greenhill v. Spelling, 482 F.3d
569, 572 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (citing Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)), and the Court has evaluated
defendant's motions in that light. The Court agrees with
the government, however, and concludes that defendant's
Section 2255 motions are untimely and that his Rule 35(a)
motion lacks merit.
The Section 2255 Motions
U.S.C. Â§ 2255 allows a prisoner in custody to "move the
court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside, or
correct the sentence." But the Court must first
determine whether the motion is timely, because the statute
imposes a one-year statute of limitations on such motions.
See United States v. Cicero, 214 F.3d 199, 202 (D.C.
Cir. 2000). Untimely motions, absent equitable tolling, are
time-barred and must be dismissed. See id. at 205. The
one-year limitations period runs from the latest of:
(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes
(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 ...