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Farmer v. United States

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

March 25, 2019

REGINALD FARMER, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CATHERINE D. PERRY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Reginald Farmer seeks to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Farmer was convicted by a jury of five counts: one for distribution of twenty-eight grams or more of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a), a second for possession within intent to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), and three counts of possession of marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 844(a). See No. 4:12CR375CDP. Farmer was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment for Counts I and II, and a term of 24 months on each of Counts III, IV, and V, with all counts to run concurrently. Farmer appealed, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence. United States v. Reginald Farmer, No. 13-3041 (8th Cir. July 11, 2014)(unpublished).

         Farmer then filed this § 2255 motion, raising the following grounds for relief:

1) The government violated Brady v. Maryland by failing to turn over video evidence of the parking lot that would depict the hand-to-transaction leading to his arrest;
2) He was unconstitutionally subjected to an enhanced sentence under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1) and § 851 because of his prior drug convictions;
3) Ineffective assistance of counsel for the following reasons:
a. His trial counsel failed to obtain the video evidence
b. His trial counsel failed to move to strike the expert testimony of the drug chemist.

         The records before me conclusively demonstrate that Farmer has no right to relief and I will deny Farmer's motion without an evidentiary hearing for the reasons that follow.

         Discussion

         A. No. Evidentiary Hearing is Required

         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.

         B. Claims 1 and 2 are Procedurally Barred

         “A 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). Farmer did not raise Grounds 1 and 2 on direct appeal. 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” ...


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