Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Court upholds 2255 waiver provision

Defendant Slusser entered a guilty plea back in 2011.  As part of the plea, he agreed to not file any "motions or pleadings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 2255."  Despite this, he filed one in 2012.  It was denied.  In 2016, after Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2251 (2015), he filed leave to file a second or successive petition.  The Sixth Circuit granted leave to file a petition, and remanded to the district court.  The district court ultimately denied the motion.

On appeal, the Government pressed the issue that Slusser had waived his right to file a 2255 petition as part of his plea agreement.  The Court determined that, in fact, the waiver provision was enforceable.  The Court further dismissed the claim that Slusser could not have voluntarily waived his right to attack a sentence above the statutory maximum.  The Court dismissed prior case law references by Slusser as dicta, and held "Slusser waived his right to collaterally attack his sentence, including his designation as an armed career criminal. The subsequent developments in this area of the law 'do[] not suddenly make [his] plea involuntary or unknowing or otherwise undo its binding nature.'”

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