August 25, 2019

Tenth Circuit: Certificate of Appealability Denied Because Applicant Failed to Make a Substantial Showing of the Denial of a Constitutional Right

The Tenth Circuit published its opinion in United States v. Cordova on Monday, February 11, 2013.

Mr. Cordova pleaded guilty in the district court to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 216 months’ imprisonment. On direct appeal, Mr. Cordova argued that his guilty plea was involuntary, that his trial counsel was ineffective, and that his sentence was procedurally unreasonable. The Tenth Circuit affirmed Mr. Cordova’s conviction and sentence, declining to address the ineffective assistance of counsel claim because further development of the record and an opinion by the district court was needed for the Tenth Circuit’s review. Mr. Cordova then sought § 2255 relief to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence, which the district court denied. The district court also denied Mr. Cordova’s certificate of appealability (“COA”). Mr. Cordova sought to appeal.

A COA will be issued only if the applicant makes “a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” Because Mr. Cordova made no such showing, the Tenth Circuit denied Cordova’s application for a COA and  dismissed the matter.

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