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Haynes v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Clarksburg

April 18, 2018

JEROME NAQUAN HAYNES, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          KEELEY, JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ROBERT W. TRUMBLE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On July 26, 2016, Jerome Naquan Haynes (“Petitioner”), proceeding pro se, filed a Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody. (Civil Action No. 1:16-CV-162, ECF No. 1; Criminal Action No. 1:14-CR-32, ECF No. 402).[1] On July 26, 2016, the Court issued a Notice of Deficient Pleading to Petitioner to comply with the Local Rules. ECF No. 404. On January 6, 2017, Petitioner completed the Court Approved Form for filing a Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. ECF No. 448. On February 23, 2017, the Government filed their Response in Opposition to Petitioner's Motion. ECF No. 452. Petitioner filed a Reply [ECF No. 467]

         and a supplemental Reply [ECF No.489]. The undersigned now issues this Report and Recommendation on the Petitioner's motion without holding an evidentiary hearing. For the reasons stated below, the undersigned recommends that the District Judge deny and dismiss the Petitioner's motion.

         II. FACTS

         A. Conviction and Sentence

         On May 9, 2014, a criminal complaint was filed which charged Petitioner with aiding and abetting in the distribution of oxycodone, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C), and 18 U.S.C. § 2. ECF No. 1. On May 28, 2014, the Grand Jury issued a Second Superseding Indictment charging Petitioner in two counts of a nine count indictment. More specifically, Count One charged Petitioner with Conspiracy with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Oxycodone in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846 and 841(b)(1)(C). Count Nine charged Petition with Distribution of Oxycodone within 1000 feet of a Protected Location - Aiding and Abetting in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C) and 860, and Title 18 U.S.C. § 2. ECF No. 102

         1. PLEA HEARING

         On July 9, 2014, Petitioner entered a guilty plea to aiding and abetting in the distribution of oxycodone within 1000 feet of a protected location pursuant to a plea agreement. ECF No. 179. The plea agreement allowed Petitioner to retain his appellate rights and rights to collaterally attack his sentence only with respect to any sentence imposed using a base offense level 30 or higher. ECF No. 179 at 6. At sentencing District Judge Keeley determined that the guideline base offense level was a 27. ECF No. 362 at 81. Because a base offense level of 27 is less than 30, Petitioner waived his right to appeal and to collaterally attack his sentence pursuant to his plea agreement. ECF No. 179 at 6. During the plea hearing, Petitioner stated under oath that he understood the terms of the plea agreement regarding his appellate rights and his rights to collaterally attack his sentence.

THE COURT: Did you understand that under paragraph thirteen of your written plea agreement, if the District Judge's actual sentence is the same as or equal to a guideline sentence which uses a base offense level of 29 or lower then you give up your right to appeal and you give up your right to collaterally attack that actual sentence?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: Did you intend to give up the right of direct appeal and the right of collateral attack as set out in paragraph thirteen of your plea agreement?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: You're only keeping those two valuable direct and indirect appeal rights if your actual sentence is the same as or equal to a guideline sentence with a base offense level of 30 or higher.
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.

ECF No. 327 at 23. Moreover, Petitioner affirmed he was completely satisfied with the legal assistance his attorney provided in this case. Id. at 26. Further the plea agreement provided and the parties represented to the Court at the plea hearing that Petitioner did not agree with a 2 level fire arm enhancement or a 3 level role enhancement but that the Government would argue the application of those enhancements at sentencing. ECF No. 327 at 9:2-5. Petitioner acknowledged his understanding that the District Judge would make a determination based upon any evidence and the arguments of law that were presented during the sentencing hearing as to whether the firearm enhancement and whether the role enhancement would apply. Id. at 33. Petitioner agreed with Magistrate Judge Kaull that he had no idea of how the District Judge would rule regarding the enhancements at the time of plea hearing but still desired to plead guilty pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement. Id. at 34. Ultimately, the District Judge determined that the base offense level was 27 and that the firearm and role enhancements did apply creating an adjusted offense level of 34. ECF No. 362 at 81.

         2. SENTENCING

         On November 13, 2014, Petitioner's sentencing hearing commenced before the Honorable Irene M. Keeley, United States District Judge. ECF No. 328. Petitioner was sworn under oath and was made aware that if he testified falsely about material matters, he could face a further charge of false swearing or perjury. Id. at 3. The objection regarding the applicability of the firearm enhancement was litigated. Id. The Government called two co-defendants, Chad Register and Deadryl Maddox, and a Task Force officer to testify as to Petitioner's possession of firearms. Petitioner subsequently took the stand and contradicted this testimony, denying that he had ever purchased or possessed firearms. Id. at 40. After Petitioner's testimony, the Government viewed Petitioner “…as having lied about everything material in this case, as having falsely denied his relevant conduct to which he stipulated previously and as having attempted to obstruct justice in this case at the sentencing.” Id. at 64. The Court continued the sentencing hearing because Petitioner's testimony during the sentencing hearing appeared to counter his testimony during his plea hearing. More specifically, the Court noted it needed time to re-evaluate the plea hearing and Petitioner's testimony from the sentencing hearing before it could make a decision regarding the applicability of the enhancements. Id. at 67.

         On May 15, 2015, the Court resumed the sentencing hearing in this case, and addressed the issues in dispute regarding the applicable enhancements related to Petitioner's role in the offense, the possession of a firearm, the obstruction of justice regarding Petitioner's testimony, and Petitioner's acceptance of responsibility in entering into the plea agreement. ECF No. 362. As for the firearm enhancement, the Court weighed the evidence and applied the firearm enhancement because the testimony of Officer Rogers, Chad Register and Deadryl Maddox was found to be more credible than Petitioner's. Id. at 14. The Court also applied the enhancement for Petitioner's role in the offense, citing to Petitioner's personal participation in the scheme, his decision-making authority, his recruitment of two other participants, his personal control over the supply of drugs to be distributed, the fact that there was five or more participants, and the extensive nature of the drug distribution activity. Id. at 22-23. The Court explained the legal construct for applying an obstruction of justice enhancement, U.S.S.G 3C1.1, and weighed the factors laid out in Dunnigan[2] and Jones[3]to determine if the enhancement was applicable to Petitioner. Id. at 62-70. Ultimately, the Court found Petitioner had lied and applied the enhancement. Id. at 70. Because the Petitioner had lied, the Court initially denied him the reduction for acceptance of responsibility. Id. at 70-71. However, after hearing Petitioner's allocution, the District Judge changed her mind and applied the two level reduction for acceptance of responsibility. Id. at 80-81.

MR. DYER: Your Honor, the defendant has just indicated to me as well that he would like to acknowledge full responsibility for the firearms and his role in the offense. He can do that himself or you can question him about that but I wanted to bring that-
THE COURT: I think he has to do it. I don't think we should take it from you.
MR. DYER: Sure.
THE DEFENDANT: I take full responsibility for my actions, Your Honor, the firearm, the leadership and the relevant conduct.
THE COURT: Are you admitting today that you in fact did purchase those two firearms, the handgun and the Ringer?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am.
THE COURT: Are you admitting today that through Casey Searcy and others you were engaged in a drug distribution scheme that ...

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