United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Robinson seeks to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Robinson was convicted by a jury
of racketeering conspiracy; two counts of violent crime in
aid of racketeering - murder; one count of violent crime in
aid of racketeering - attempt to commit murder, and tampering
with evidence. Case No. 4:11CR246 CDP. He was sentenced to
three terms of life imprisonment, plus 120 months and 240
months, with all terms to run consecutively. Robinson
appealed, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed
his conviction and sentence. United States v.
Henley, 766 F.3d 893, 908 (8th Cir. 2014). Robinson
petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari,
which was denied on May 4, 2016.
then filed this § 2255 motion pro se, raising
the following two grounds for relief:
1) Ineffective assistance of counsel “because the
district court finding that spontaneous isolated and
unrelated acts of violence by individuals in disparate
geographical locations having no economic impact on
Interstate Commerce and whose association in-fact-was not
engaged in or effected interstate commerce violates 18 U.S.C.
§ 1962(d) constitutes an unconstitutional application of
2) Ineffective assistance of counsel “because the court
improperly determined that defendants acts performed for
purposes of maintaining or increasing his position in a RICO
enterprise in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a) does not
require ‘but for' causation.”
government points out, Robinson's lengthy memorandum in
support of his motion bears little relationship to these
claims and instead contains a rambling, incomprehensible
attack of the constitutionality of various statutes and the
procedure used to sentence him. To the extent this memorandum
attempts to raise additional claims, they could have been
raised before the Court of Appeals but were not, so they are
procedurally barred. Robinson's ineffective assistance of
counsel claims fail because he was represented by an
experienced trial attorney who presented a vigorous defense,
and his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are
refuted by the trial record. The evidence against him was
very strong, as set forth in great detail in the appellate
opinion affirming his conviction and sentence. I will deny
Robinson's motion without an evidentiary hearing for the
reasons that follow.
No Evidentiary Hearing is Required
records before me conclusively demonstrate that Robinson has
no right to relief. I will not hold an evidentiary hearing on
this matter. “A petitioner is entitled to an
evidentiary hearing on a section 2255 motion unless the
motion and the files and records of the case conclusively
show that he is entitled to no relief.”
Anjulo-Lopez v. United States, 541 F.3d 814, 817
(8th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). “No
hearing is required, however, where the claim is inadequate
on its face or if the record affirmatively refutes the
factual assertions upon which it is based.”
Id. (internal quotation marks and citations
omitted). The record here conclusively refutes the claims, so
I will not hold an evidentiary hearing.
Additional Claims are Procedurally Barred
collateral challenge may not do service for an appeal.”
United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 165 (1982).
“[N]ormally a collateral attack should not be
entertained if defendant failed, for no good reason, to use
another available avenue of relief.” Poor Thunder
v. United States, 810 F.2d 817, 823 (8th Cir. 1987)
(internal citation omitted). If a claim could have been
raised on direct appeal but was not, it cannot be raised in a
§ 2255 motion unless the movant can show both (1) a
“cause” that excuses the default, and (2)
“actual prejudice” resulting from the errors of
which he complains. See Ramey v. United States, 8
F.3d 1313, 1314 (8th Cir. 1993); Mathews v. United
States, 114 F.3d 112, 113 (8th Cir. 1997).
Robinson's arguments are difficult to discern, he appears
to assert in his supporting memorandum that: 18 U.S.C. §
1959 is unconstitutional, both on its face and as applied to
him; he was somehow “prosecuted in the wrong
court;” being sentenced to the statutory mandatory
minimum term of imprisonment violated due process; and, 18
U.S.C. § 3553(a) is unconstitutional because the Court
allegedly sentenced him based on judicially found facts and a
mandatory Presentence Investigation Report . Not only are all
of these claims meritless,  they are procedurally barred
because they could have been raised on direct appeal but were
not. As Robinson provides no attempt to allege sufficient
cause and prejudice necessary to overcome the procedural
default of any of these claims, they will be denied.
Robinson Did Not Receive Ineffective Assistance of
brings two claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel.
The Sixth Amendment establishes the right of the criminally
accused to the effective assistance of counsel.
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 686 (1984).
To state a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel,
Robinson must prove two elements of the claim. First, he
“must show that counsel's performance was
deficient. This requires showing that counsel made errors so
serious that counsel was not functioning as the counsel
guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment.”
Id. at 687. In considering whether this showing has
been accomplished, “judicial scrutiny of counsel's
performance must be highly deferential.” Id.
at 689. The courts seek to “eliminate the distorting
effects of hindsight” by examining counsel's
performance from counsel's perspective at the time of the
alleged error. Id. Second, Robinson “must show
that the deficient performance prejudiced the defense.”
Id. at 687. This requires him to demonstrate
“a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's
unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding ...