Thursday, April 7, 2011

District Court must actually vacate and reenter judgment to renew appellate jurisdiction

United States v. Sakyi, No. 10-6887 (4th Cir. Apr. 7, 2011):

District Court must actually vacate and reenter judgment:

When a prisoner successfully moves, pursuant to § 2255, to reinstate his right to a direct appeal, the proper remedy is to vacate the underlying judgment of conviction and reenter the judgment to permit the Fed. R. App. 4(b) appeal period to run anew.

Despite the district court’s grant of the relief described above, Sakyi’s judgment of conviction was not vacated and reentered. To place Sakyi in the proper posture to proceed with his criminal appeal, we vacate that portion of the district court’s order and judgment granting leave to file an out-of-time appeal. We remand with instructions to vacate and reenter Sakyi’s judgment of conviction.

District Court should not deny other grounds for relief on the merits:

Furthermore, although the District Court denied relief on the merits as to the remandiner of Sakyi's § 2255 claims, we note that those claims could otherwise be raised in Sakyi’s reinstated direct appeal. When a prisoner such as Sakyi has wrongly been denied the right to a direct appeal, he should not be forced to raise all possible claims against his judgment of conviction in his first § 2255 motion and thereby, "make the substantive objections to his conviction and sentence that his lawyer would have made for him on direct appeal." In re Goddard, 170 F.3d 435, 437 (4th Cir. 1999). Accordingly, we modify the district court’s denial of relief on Sakyi’s remaining § 2255 claims to be without prejudice and affirm the denial of relief as modified.

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