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United States v. Roszkowski

United States District Court, D. Rhode Island

October 19, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ARJUSZ ROSZKOWSKI C.R.

          ORDER

          WILLIAM E. SMITH, Chief Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on two motions filed by Defendant Arjusz Roszkowski. In the first, Roszkowski requests the issuance of a Certificate of Appealability (“COA”)(ECF No. 130) with respect to the Court's denial of his motion to reconsider the denial of his § 2255 motion and his Motion for New Trial. The second seeks the appointment of a new attorney on appeal (ECF No. 131). For the following reasons, both motions are DENIED.

         I. Procedural History[1]

         On June 16, 2014, Roszkowski filed a Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody (ECF No. 105). The Court denied and dismissed the Motion to Vacate in an Order dated September 18, 2015 (ECF No. 117).

         On January 11, 2016, Roszkowski filed a Motion for Reconsideration (ECF No. 119) of the denial of the Motion to Vacate. He subsequently filed a Motion for a New Trial Based on a New Supreme Court Ruling. (ECF No. 121.) The Court denied both motions by Order dated May 6, 2016 (ECF No. 124), and on May 16, 2016, Roszkowski filed a Notice of Appeal (ECF No. 125) of that Order.

         II. Request for COA

         On July 14, 2016, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit directed Roszkowski to apply for a COA in this Court, as it did not appear that he had done so. Roszkowski v. United States, No. 16-1633 (1st Cir. July 14, 2016) (Order of Court directing Petitioner to seek COA in district court). The Order of Court states, in relevant part:

This court has docketed petitioner-appellant's appeal from the denial of his motion to vacate sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The case cannot go forward unless a certificate of appealability issues. 28 U.S.C. § 2253. A request for a certificate of appealability must first be sought in the district court.

Id.

         When a district court dismisses a habeas petition solely on procedural grounds, a COA will not issue unless the petitioner can demonstrate both “that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000).

         Roszkowski has not demonstrated that “jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right . . . .” Id. Indeed, both the Motion to Vacate and the Motion for Reconsideration allege errors in the application of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, not the denial of a constitutional right. (ECF No. 105-11-3; ECF No. 119 2.) Roszkowski does not attempt to argue otherwise in his request for a COA. (ECF No. 130 1.)

         Moreover,

[w]here a plain procedural bar is present and the district court is correct to invoke it to dispose of the case, a reasonable jurist could not conclude either that the district court erred in dismissing the petition or that the petitioner should be allowed to ...

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