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Man can't collaterally attack sentence again

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has again denied a man's attempt to have his drug conviction overturned or sentence reduced because he had used the one 28 U.S.C. Section 2255 motion he was allowed and he can't challenge his sentence again under the same section.

Kevin Unthank appealed his 262-month sentence for drug convictions in Kevin Unthank v. Brian Jett, Warden, Federal Correctional Institute at Terre Haute, Indiana, No. 08-1417, something he had been doing for more than a decade, the federal appellate court noted.

Unthank filed his latest post-conviction appeal in 2007 after he was transferred to the prison in Terre Haute. U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney dismissed that petition.

Unthank appealed because he believed since one of his state convictions was vacated, his federal sentence should be reduced. But his collateral attack in his 1998 motion under 28 U.S.C. Section 2255 blocks access to the kind of review of his case authorized by Johnson v. United States, 544 U.S. 295 (2005), wrote Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook. Section 2255 allows for only one collateral attack unless a prisoner meets the conditions under subsection (h), which Unthank doesn't qualify for, wrote the chief judge.

Unthank also can't use Section 2241 to challenge his sentence, which he thinks can be used when a motion under Section 2255 is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention. The case, Taylor v. Gilkey, 314 F.3d 832 (7th Cir. 2002), rejected this line of argument, wrote Chief Judge Easterbrook.

"If Unthank wanted to use (Section) 2255 to argue for a lower sentence after asking a state court to vacate one or more of his prior convictions, he had only to refrain from filing a collateral attack until the state court had acted," he wrote. "He may have used unwisely the one (Section) 2255 motion allowed as of right, but he did use it in 1998 and has not met the statutory requirements for an additional round of collateral review."

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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