CRIMINAL LAW

Habeas Corpus • Case or Controversy • Cognizable Claims

United States v. Trimble, PICS Case No. 14-0307 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 18, 2014) Brody, J. (7 pages).

The court found that petitioner’s challenge to length of his sentence was moot and that his challenge to order of restitution was not a cognizable claim under 28 U.S.C. §2255. Motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence by a person in federal custody denied.

After pleading guilty to violation of tax laws, petitioner was sentenced to 65 months of imprisonment, three years of supervised release, was fined, and ordered to pay restitution of over $5 million, jointly and severally with his co-defendants. Petitioner’s sentence was affirmed by the Third Circuit.

Petitioner filed this pro se habeas petition while still incarcerated but was released 8 months later. He challenged the length of his sentence and the restitution order. The court found that the case or controversy requirement under Article III of the Constitution had not been met because petitioner did not allege any collateral consequences as a result of his previous incarceration.

Petitioner challenged the restitution order based on ineffective assistance of counsel. The court noted that §2255 only applied to prisoners claiming the right to be released. Citing numerous cases, the court held that petitioner’s challenge to the restitution order also failed because it was not a cognizable claim in a §2255 habeas petition when it did not seek release from custody.