United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
GEORGE E. BROWN, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on petitioner's application
for writ of coram nobis. For the reasons set forth below, the
petition will be denied.
jury trial in August of 2006, petitioner was originally
sentenced to 240 months' imprisonment following his
conviction on a single count of possession with intent to
distribute five grams or more of cocaine base. See United
States v. Brown, 1:05CR178 RLW (E.D.Mo.).
represented himself at his trial, with the assistance of
appointed stand-by counsel. His conviction and sentence were
affirmed on appeal. United States v. Brown, 499 F.3d
817 (8th Cir. 2007). After the U.S. Sentencing
Guidelines relating to crack cocaine were amended, the Court
reduced his sentence to 192 months' imprisonment. He
appealed that sentence and it was affirmed. United States
v. Brown, No. 09-2423 (8th Cir. March 26,
2010). On October 18, 2011, petitioner's sentence was
further reduced by this Court to 144 months'
supervised release commenced on September 5, 2014, for a term
of eight (8) years. His supervised release was revoked on
November 2, 2016, and petitioner was sentenced to a term of
imprisonment of sixty (60) months.
filed his motion to vacate his sentence, brought pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255, on December 31, 2008, prior to the
reduction of his sentence because of the amended crack
guidelines. See Brown v. United States, 1:08CV182
CDP (E.D.Mo.). The Court denied petitioner's motion on
November 8, 2010, and the Eighth Circuit denied
petitioner's request for a certificate of appealability.
Brown v. United States, No. 10-3645 (8th
Cir. February 18, 2011).
filed the instant petition for writ of coram nobis on June
19, 2017. Petitioner argues that his Constitutional rights
were violated when a "faulty" search warrant was
issued relating to his 2006 conviction and sentence.
Specifically, petitioner's arguments relate to a
"no-knock" search warrant at his residence where
police found nine grams of a substance containing cocaine
base which resulted in petitioner's arrest in March of
2005. Petitioner asserts that the affidavit in support of the
search warrant failed to state a substantial basis for
supporting probable cause. Additionally, petitioner argues,
that Detective Chris Rataj, the affiant, included false
information in his affidavit, when he stated that Connie
Franks claimed that she had purchased drugs from petitioner
from his residence on a prior occasion.
premise in his coram nobis seems to be that because the
search warrant was "faulty, " the premises at which
petitioner was found in possession of cocaine was the subject
of a warrantless search, and any evidence seized in that
search should not have been used against him, or should have
been excluded from, his underlying criminal proceedings.
made this same argument in his pretrial proceedings, at his
trial, on his direct appeal, in his § 2255 proceedings
and on appeal of his § 2255 proceedings. In fact, the
Eighth Circuit summarized the evidence of the search warrant
affidavit as follows:
obtain the search warrant, Detective Chris Rataj submitted an
affidavit which included the following information: Detective
Rataj's qualifications; Brown's criminal history;
that Brown was being investigated for distributing crack
cocaine; that Connie Franks had told police that she
purchased crack several times from Brown at his residence;
that a reliable confidential informant (CI) had, in the
previous two days, bought crack cocaine and reported that
Brown discussed having a handgun; and that Brown was a
suspect who had admitted his involvement in a 1984 homicide.
trial, petitioner cross-examined both Detective Rataj and
Connie Franks and recalled Detective Rataj in his own case.
Moreover, his appointed counsel filed suppression motions
related to the aforementioned issues, but the motions were
denied. Additionally, the Court of Appeals considered
petitioner's challenges to the warrant and concluded that
it was supported by probable cause. The Appeals Court agreed
that petitioner had, in fact, been given a hearing consistent
with Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978), as
both the Magistrate and the District Judges in
petitioner's criminal proceedings considered all of the
evidence petitioner believed showed the warrant application
was false. At all three levels of consideration, the Courts
concluded that the warrant was appropriately supported by
probable cause. As to this issue specifically, the Eighth
Given the totality of circumstances, we find that the
affidavit provided a substantial basis for the issuing
magistrate to conclude that probable cause existed, even
without the information regarding Connie Franks. And, if
Franks information is included in the analysis, it is not
even a close call as to whether probable cause supported
issuance of the warrant.
the aforementioned analysis, there is no reason for the Court
to re-analyze petitioner's arguments relating to the
warrant underlying his 2005 arrest, especially when a coram
nobis is not a procedural ...