Samak v. FCI Coleman Medium Warden

Docket: 13-12161 Opinion Date: September 10, 2014
Judge: Per curiam
Areas of Law: Criminal Law

Petitioner was convicted of conspiracy to violate the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 (OCCA) in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371 and one count of violating the OCCA through destruction by fire in violation of 18 U.S.C. 844(i). On appeal, petitioner challenged pro se the district court’s dismissal for lack of jurisdiction his 28 U.S.C. 2241 habeas corpus petition challenging his convictions and total sentence of life imprisonment. The court concluded that petitioner provided no argument as to why either of his claims satisfied the savings clause. Because binding Fifth Circuit precedent at the time of his sentencing actually supported his claim that he should not have been sentenced to life imprisonment, petitioner cannot show that, at the time of his sentence or any other relevant time, circuit precedent squarely foreclosed his claim. Likewise, petitioner’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim related to counsel’s advice as to a guilty plea failed. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.


Bottom Line:

First, this case is extremely old, as the 11th Circuit is now split and no longer part of the 5th Circuit.  Second, on cases this old, any chance of success is even more difficult.  What needs to be done is IMMEDIATELY after a case is decided, if there are issues for appeal that are known at the time, the appeal and any other possible options need to be done IMMEDIATELY!  Many people wait years and years to try and do anything about their cases and all this does is cause several issues.


Whether filing everything on-time would have had a positive impact on this case, I cannot say for sure.  Also, many times, binding precedent for court cases is not retroactive.  It is also never advised to blame your attorney for his/her advice that was given where you Made the Choice to plead guilty.  This is why, as an attorney when I advise my clients, everything is placed in writing.  This is to protect myself as well as my clients and ensure that I have advised them to the fullest extent of the law.

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