United States v Rodriguez

Rodriguez brought a 28 USC 2255 motion seeking to vacate his sentence. The district court ruled Rodriguez’s challenge to his career criminal status had been rejected on direct appeal and thus could not be raised in the 2255 motion and that trial counsel was not ineffective in her handling of the career criminal issue. The panel denied a certificate of appealablity and dismissed. It held the prior panel’s rejection of Rodriguez’s argument that his Texas assault conviction could not be used to declare him a career criminal was law of the case and could not be challenged in a 2255 motion. It also held that there was no ineffective assistance as trial counsel argued that state court records could not be used, her argument was foreclosed by 10th Circuit precedent and nothing in the later United Sates Supreme Court decisions Rodriguez relied upon in his 2255 motion changed anything about when state court documents can be used in career criminal analysis. It also held that there was no prejudice as even if counsel did everything Rodriguez wanted, his argument would have been rejected under 10th Circuit precedent.