Fogle files, loses constitutional challenge

Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle has lost yet another challenge to his 15-year sentence for child pornography charges, with the Indiana Southern District Court this time upholding the constitutionality of a statute through which Fogle has been permitted to seek relief.

After initially filing a motion to withdraw his guilty plea — which Judge Tanya Walton Pratt treated as a motion to vacate, set aside or correct sentence — on Feb. 26, Pratt gave the Indianapolis native until April 6 to supplement the motion “with a complete statement and grounds on which he could and does challenge his conviction and/or sentence.” Alternatively, Fogle was given the opportunity to withdraw his motion, or notify the court that the motion already contains a complete statement of his claims and grounds for relief.  

If Fogle does not take one of those three actions by April 6, his motion will be treated as one under 18 U.S.C. 2255, and his case will proceed. But rather than taking one of those actions, Fogle filed a constitutional challenge to section 2255(f)(1-4), alleging the one-year statute of limitations for section 2255 motions unconstitutionally denies a party habeas relief by setting a time limit. He also maintained Civil Procedure Rule 5.1 requires the court to notify the U.S. Attorney General of his constitutional challenge.

But Pratt found no constitutional defect with section 2255, writing in a Wednesday order that the statute of limitations merely “imposes a congressionally-intended limitation in order to further the well-established goal of finality in criminal convictions.” Further, because the statute is not unconstitutional, Pratt declined to certify the constitutional question to the attorney general.

The judge also determined Fogle’s constitutional challenge was actually a motion to withdraw his section 2255 motion and directed the clerk to modify the docket accordingly. However, she withheld judgment on the motion to withdraw considering the April 6 deadline has not yet passed, then extended Fogle’s deadline to supplement the motion by one week.  

Fogle’s original motion to vacate, set aside or correct sentence stems from his convictions of traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and distribution and receipt of child pornography. He claims his guilty pleas to those charges were not voluntary because he erroneously pleaded guilty to a “conspiracy” charge, referencing conspiracy language included in the child porn charge.

Fogle also alleged in his criminal case — United States of America v. Jared S. Fogle, 1:15-cr-00159 — that he is a sovereign citizen not subject to the court’s jurisdiction,  but Pratt rejected that argument in November 2017. When he continued to challenge the court’s jurisdiction and filed the motion to withdraw his guilty plea, Pratt re-docketed the motion to the instant civil case, Jared S. Fogle v. United States of America, 1:18-cv-00571.  

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