threat to prosecute his wife who had also been indicted.
A review of Case File No.79-50007-JLF indicates that the indictment against defendant's wife was indeed dismissed because of defendant's guilty plea to Count I. (See Case No. 79-50007-JLF, Motion to Dismiss Patricia J. Hawkins filed on 11/26/79). A review of the file also reveals, however, that in exchange for defendant's guilty plea to Count I, the government also agreed to dismiss Counts 2, 3, 4, and 5. (See Case No. 79-50007-JLF, Motion to Dismiss William E. Hawkins filed on 11/26/79). It was not improper for the government to negotiate the disposition of both the defendant's and his wife's cases on the basis of the defendant's plea. Bontkowski v. United States, 850 F.2d 306, 313 (7th Cir. 1988) ("A guilty plea is not constitutionally involuntary simply because it is the end result of the plea bargaining process"). During defendant's plea negotiations, his wife had already been indicted, and any threat that she would be prosecuted to the fullest extent will not support a claim of coercion. Bontkowski, 850 F.2d at 313 (citing United States v. Diaz, 733 F.2d 371 (5th Cir.1984); and United States v. Usher, 703 F.2d 956 (6th Cir.1983)).
Defendant also claims that the trial court failed to comply with Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure by failing to inquire whether his guilty plea was the result of force or threats, or reflected prior discussions between the government and defense counsel. The Seventh Circuit has noted, however, that in collateral proceedings, a conviction will be vacated for a Rule 11 violation only if it amounts to "a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice." See United States v. Fels, 599 F.2d 142, 149 n.5 (7th Cir. 1979) (citing Carreon v. United States, 578 F.2d 176, 179 (7th Cir. 1978)). The record before the court is utterly devoid of anything suggesting a "fundamental defect" which resulted in a "complete miscarriage of justice." Consequently, defendant cannot prevail on his claim that his guilty plea was involuntary.
Defendant also attacks his 1979 sentence by claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. First, he claims that the information that was used to indict him came from confidential informants and that his counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to disclose these informants. Second, he claims that the search of his residence was based on a defective search warrant, and that his counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress the evidence seized from the residence.
Defendant cannot prevail on his ineffective assistance of counsel claims. First, the performance of counsel sixteen years ago, even if constitutionally deficient, does not excuse defendant's sitting on his claims for sixteen years. See Rasco, 697 F. Supp. at 345 (citing United States v. Borom, 646 F. Supp. 1104, 1106 (E.D.Wisc.1986) (barring coram nobis relief when petitioner waited twelve years to challenge his plea and sentence, was no longer incarcerated under that sentence, and whose excuse for delay consisted solely of "bald assertions" of ineffective counsel). Second, defendant's ineffective assistance claims lack merit. With an ineffective assistance of counsel challenge to a guilty plea, defendant must demonstrate that counsel's performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, and "that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's errors, [the accused] would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial." Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 58-59, 88 L. Ed. 2d 203, 106 S. Ct. 366 (1985).
Defendant has failed to meet either of the standards set forth in Hill v. Lockhart. Even if counsel's failure to file a motion to disclose the informants and to suppress the evidence was unreasonable, defendant has not demonstrated the kind of prejudice necessary to sustain a claim of ineffective counsel. In particular, he has not alleged a reasonable probability that those motions would have succeeded. More significantly, he has not alleged that he would have pled differently had the motions been filed, and had they later succeeded. At bottom, defendant has failed to demonstrate that "but for the fundamental errors committed, a more favorable judgment would have been rendered." United States v. Darnell, 716 F.2d 479, 481 n.5 (7th Cir.1983), cert. denied, 465 U.S. 1083, 79 L. Ed. 2d 771, 104 S. Ct. 1454 (1984).
For the foregoing reasons, defendant's request for relief is DENIED. Defendant's motion is dismissed without prejudice with leave to refile it in Case No. 90-30067-WDS.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: March 25, 1997
James L. Foreman