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Robinson v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

March 16, 2015

DONALD ROBINSON, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

HENRY EDWARD AUTREY, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Donald Robinson's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, [Doc. No. 1]. The United States of America has responded to the motion, pursuant to the Court's Case Management Order, and Movant has filed a Reply thereto. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A grand jury indicted Movant, charging him in a six count indictment with two counts of maintaining a drug-involved premises; possession with intent to distribute more than fifty grams of methamphetamine; two counts of possession of at least one firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime; and possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of methamphetamine.

On March 3, 2009, after a two day bench trial, the Court convicted Movant on all six counts.

Movant appealed his conviction arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support his June-based § 924(c) charge (Count VI); (2) the District Court violated his Sixth Amendment confrontation rights in allowing one chemist to testify to the findings made by another chemist; (3) a proper chain of custody was not established as the substance evidence; and (4) Movant's 300-month sentence under Count VI constituted cruel and unusual punishment. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the judgment and conviction of this Court on August 18, 2010. United States v. Donald Robinson, 617 F.3d 984 (8th Cir. 2010). Movant filed a motion for rehearing. That motion was denied on October 21, 2010.

Movant filed this Motion for Post-Conviction Relief pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C. Section 2255 on January 17, 2012.

CLAIM FOR RELIEF

Movant has raised the following grounds for post-conviction relief:

Ground One: Counsel was ineffective in failing to inform him of the plea agreement offered by the government and advise him that if he proceeded to trial, he faced a mandatory 300 month sentence on Count VI.

Ground Two: Ineffective assistance of counsel by counsel misinforming him concerning the need for his waiver of jury trial.

Ground Three: Ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to investigate and present evidence that had a reasonable probability of affecting the outcome of the trial.

Ground Four: Movant was denied his right to due process of law under the Fifth Amendment due to prosecutorial misconduct.

Ground Five: Movant was denied his right under U.S. Const. Amend. VI to effective assistance of counsel and to confront adverse witnesses when trial counsel stipulated to the testimony of a laboratory technician who was not present "by mistake" and without obtaining an informed waiver from Movant.

Ground Six: Ineffective assistance of counsel by counsel failing to object to the testimony of Movant's wife, Virginia Robinson, concerning privileged communications between herself and her husband.

Ground Seven: Ineffective assistance of counsel by counsel failing to raise meritorious arguments in his motion to suppress evidence seized in the searches of Movant's home.

STANDARD FOR RELIEF UNDER 28 U.S.C. 2255

A federal prisoner seeking relief from a sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on the ground "that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence." 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In order to obtain relief under § 2255, the movant must allege a violation constituting "a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice.'" United States v. Gomez, 326 F.3d 971, 974 (8th Cir. 2003) (quoting United States v. Boone, 869 F.2d 1089, 1091 n.4 (8th Cir. 1989)).

Claims brought under § 2255 may also be limited by procedural default. A movant "cannot raise a nonconstitutional or nonjurisdictional issue in a § 2255 motion if the issue could have been raised on direct appeal but was not." Anderson v. United States, 25 F.3d 704, 706 (8th Cir. 1994) (citing Belford v. United States, 975 F.2d 310, 313 (7th Cir. 1992)). Furthermore, even constitutional or jurisdictional claims not raised on direct appeal cannot be raised collaterally in a § 2255 motion "unless a petitioner can demonstrate (1) cause for the default and actual prejudice ...


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