Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Munoz-Guzman

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

September 27, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DANI MUNOZ-GUZMAN

          ORDER

          STEVEN D. MERRYDAY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Dani Munoz-Guzman timely moves (Doc. 1) under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate his sentence. The United States responds (Doc. 5), and Munoz-Guzman replies (Doc. 6).

         Background

         In a written plea agreement, Munoz-Guzman admits that he and three conspirators purchased stolen credit card and debit card information, used counterfeit cards to purchase fuel, and re-sold the fuel at a discounted rate. (Crim. Doc. 97 at 17–18) Munoz-Guzman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). Munoz-Guzman received a below-guidelines sentence of 78 months’ imprisonment and was ordered to pay $174, 003.74 in restitution.

         Discussion

         Munoz-Guzman claims ineffective assistance, a difficult claim to sustain. To demonstrate that counsel was constitutionally ineffective, a movant must show (1) that counsel’s representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and (2) that counsel’s deficient performance prejudiced the movant. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984). “[T]here is no reason for a court deciding an ineffective assistance claim . . . to address both components of the inquiry if the defendant makes an insufficient showing on one.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 697.

         1. Ineffective assistance at sentencing

         Citing an “intended loss” of more than $400, 000.00, the PSR applied a fourteen-level increase to the base offense level under United States Sentencing Guidelines, Section 2B1.1(b)(1). Munoz-Guzman claims that counsel rendered deficient performance both by failing to discuss with him “actual loss” and by failing to object to the fourteen-level increase.

         Counsel reasonably declined to discuss the actual loss. Application Note 3A to Section 2B1.1 explains that “loss” means “the greater of actual loss or intended loss.” In Munoz-Guzman’s case, the intended loss of more than $400, 000.00 exceeds the actual loss of $170, 571.49. (Crim. Doc. 97 at 17–18) The intended loss controls.

         Also, counsel reasonably declined to challenge the intended loss. Chandler v. Moore, 240 F.3d 907, 917 (11th Cir. 2001). Munoz-Guzman admits (Crim. Doc. 97 at 17) using information from 639 credit or debit cards. The PSR multiplied 639 by a $1, 000 per-device loss amount, which was established during the sentencings of Munoz-Guzman’s conspirators. (Doc. 131 at ¶ 40) Munoz-Guzman identifies no plausible basis on which counsel could have objected to the intended loss calculation.

         Moreover, Munoz-Guzman’s experienced defense counsel reasonably declined to raise an objection that could jeopardize a downward adjustment for acceptance of responsibility. Counsel instead advanced a number of other arguments in favor of a lower sentence and ultimately secured Munoz-Guzman a below-guidelines term of imprisonment.[1] See Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 109 (2011) (“There is a strong presumption that counsel’s attention to certain issues to the exclusion of others reflects trial tactics rather than sheer neglect.”); Provenzano v. Singletary, 148 F.3d 1327, 1332 (11th Cir. 1998) (“Our strong reluctance to second guess strategic decisions is even greater where those decisions were made by experienced criminal defense counsel.”)

         2. Ineffective assistance for failing to request a restitution hearing

         Munoz-Guzman next claims that counsel failed to request a restitution hearing and failed to contest the restitution amount. Binding authority prohibits Munoz-Guzman challenging restitution through an ineffective-assistance ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.