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Meador v. United States

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

March 18, 2015



CATHERINE D. PERRY, District Judge.

Movant Michael Meador is currently incarcerated at the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. A jury convicted Meador on three counts related to a conspiracy to distribute marijuana and the murder of Sergio Burgos. Case No. 1:06CR134CDP. Meador was sentenced to life imprisonment, and his conviction and sentence were affirmed on consolidated appeal. United States v. Dinwiddie, 618 F.3d 821 (8th Cir. 2010). His petition for certiorari was denied by the United States Supreme Court. Meador v. United States, 131 S.Ct. 1547 (2011).

Now before me is Meador's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Meador has also filed a motion "pursuant to rule 12(b)(3)(B) or in the alternative a motion for a writ of error coram nobis" and a motion to "clarify" his previous brief. I will deny the § 2255 motion to vacate and the related motions without an evidentiary hearing. Meador's extensive filings raise many issues that are either clearly refuted by the record or that appear to have been created by Meador from whole cloth. Additionally, although he raises new claims about prosecutorial misconduct that were never raised before, his ineffective assistance of counsel claims largely reargue many of the same issues previously rejected by the Court of Appeals. None of the claims or arguments has merit.

Procedural Background

Meador was charged along with three co-defendants with several crimes arising out of the drug-related murder of Sergio Burgos. Meador and his codefendant Dennis Dinwiddie were convicted at separate trials. Co-defendant Lawan James pleaded guilty and testified first at Dinwiddie's trial, and then, two months later, at Meador's trial. After those three defendants were convicted, the United States dismissed the charges against co-defendant Raul Cruz, who was at that time facing Missouri state felony-murder charges arising out of the same incident.

Meador was convicted by a jury of: conspiracy to distribute marijuana in excess of 50 kilograms (Count I), interstate travel in aid of racketeering enterprise (Count II), and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime that resulted in murder (Count III). I sentenced him to 240 months in prison on Count I, life imprisonment on Count II, with the sentences from Counts I and II to be served concurrently, and life imprisonment on Count III, to be served consecutively to the sentences on the other counts.

Meador's original § 2255 motion raised the following grounds:

1. His due process rights were violated because the government presented inconsistent theories at his and Dinwiddie's trials.
2. He was denied due process because the government did not call Raul Cruz to testify.
3. His trial counsel was ineffective in a myriad of ways.
4. His appellate counsel was ineffective in a myriad of ways.

Meador also filed a "Motion to Amend, " adding the following ground:

5. "Petitioner was denied due process of law and a fair trial, when counsel for the government engaged in misconduct by seeking to win a conviction rather than insuring that justice was provided."

This ground essentially reargues the issue in ground 2 - that the government should have called Cruz to testify. Although no affidavits were attached to the original motion, Meador filed a lengthy reply brief, which attached affidavits from himself and Dinwiddie, and from three friends.

Evidentiary Facts

The appeals of Meador and Dinwiddie were consolidated, and the Eighth Circuit set forth the facts supporting their convictions:

Sergio Burgos Gonzales (Burgos) was part of a conspiracy to distribute marijuana with Dinwiddie and Meador. Burgos shipped marijuana from Texas via express mail services to Dinwiddie in Tennessee and Meador in Missouri. After the marijuana was distributed, Burgos visited Dinwiddie and Meador to collect payment.
On January 25, 2006, Burgos shipped approximately fifty pounds of marijuana to Dinwiddie. Police intercepted the shipment and made a controlled delivery in Clarksville, Tennessee, while surveilling the residence to which the delivery was made. Police observed Dinwiddie outside of the residence, holding what appeared to be a packing slip from the delivery. Police approached him, asking him if he possessed any weapons or drugs. Dinwiddie said no and consented to a search of his person and vehicle. During the search, police recovered from Dinwiddie's pants pocket a packing slip from one of the packages in the shipment that had just been delivered. When asked about his involvement in the shipment, Dinwiddie stated that he was a middleman for Burgos. Police confiscated the marijuana, but did not make any arrests.
Less than a week later, Dinwiddie, Meador, and Burgos met in Tennessee at which time they concocted a plan wherein Meador would travel to Texas with Burgos to purchase more marijuana. Dinwiddie provided Meador with $10, 000 for the transaction. During the trip, Burgos expressed anger at Dinwiddie and speculated that Dinwiddie might have stolen the drugs that were seized as a result of the controlled delivery. In Texas, Meador gave Burgos the $10, 000 to purchase marijuana and Burgos took the money, promising to do so. Burgos, however, did not return with the marijuana.
Meador informed Dinwiddie that Burgos had left with the money and failed to return with the drugs as planned. Meador traveled to Tennessee and was picked up by Dinwiddie in Memphis. As they drove together to Clarksville, Dinwiddie expressed anger at Burgos. Meador indicated that he could locate Burgos and agreed to arrange a future meeting between Dinwiddie and Burgos. After returning to Missouri, Meador spoke with Burgos and told him that they could continue doing business without Dinwiddie. In March 2006, Burgos shipped a package of marijuana to Meador in Missouri. Shortly thereafter, Burgos met Meador to collect his payment. Looking forward, they agreed that Burgos would personally bring 200 pounds - a larger than normal amount - of marijuana to Meador in April.
On April 21, 2006, Burgos arrived at Meador's grandmother's house in New Madrid, Missouri, with 200 pounds of marijuana, accompanied by an associate, Raul Cruz. Meador and Michael Jeremy Hunt, an associate of Meador's, immediately began preparing the marijuana for distribution to local customers and began distribution that night, collecting $40, 000. The plan was for Burgos to return to the house the following morning to receive payment for the marijuana. Meador called Dinwiddie to tell him that Burgos was in Missouri. Dinwiddie acquired ...

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