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Woodruff v. United States

December 15, 1997

THOMAS A. WOODRUFF, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,

v.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the United States District Court

for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. No. 96-C-134 Thomas J. Curran, Judge.

Before CUMMINGS, MANION, and DIANE P. WOOD, Circuit Judges.

DIANE P. WOOD, Circuit Judge.

Argued April 18, 1997

Decided December 15, 1997

Once again, we are called upon to decide whether the Supreme Court's decision in Bailey v. United States, 116 S. Ct. 501 (1995), requires new proceedings of any kind for a criminal defendant. Thomas A. Woodruff pleaded guilty to both a drug offense and a violation of 18 U.S.C. sec. 924(c), he took no direct appeal from his conviction or sentence, and he then presented a petition under 28 U.S.C. sec. 2255 to the district court seeking to withdraw his guilty plea on the sec. 924(c) charge and to vacate his conviction on that count. The district court denied the petition, and we affirm.

Woodruff's conviction was the ultimate result of a traffic stop effected by the West Milwaukee police. Conducting a search incident to the stop, the police found 12.8 grams of cocaine in his car. (Woodruff initially argued that it was "just" 11.8 grams, but he later acknowledged that the discrepancy was immaterial. We therefore use the amount reflected in the Presentencing Report and the police report.) Woodruff's responses to questioning led the police to search (with a warrant) the house Woodruff shared with Henry "Corvette" Bams, where they found another 131 grams of cocaine, $56,000 of Bams' money, and three handguns: a Smith & Wesson 9mm semiautomatic handgun, a Rossi .38 special revolver, and a Glock .40. One of the guns was found, unloaded, in Woodruff's room, and the other two were found, loaded, in Bams' room.

These discoveries eventually blossomed into a twenty-three count indictment involving Woodruff and fourteen co-defendants, charging the defendants with a variety of cocaine distribution, money laundering, and firearm offenses, and also including counts for forfeiture. Woodruff himself was named in count I (conspiracy to distribute cocaine), count XIV (possession of cocaine with intent to distribute), and count XXIII (using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to the drug offenses in violation of sec. 924(c)). He pleaded guilty to counts I and XXIII on December 22, 1992, at a hearing before the district court. Woodruff there admitted that he understood the terms of the agreement. Specifically with respect to count XXIII, the following exchange took place between him and the court:

[THE COURT] Q: And what do you understand to be the charge in count 23?

[WOODRUFF] A: Count 23 states that me--me, myself, and other people carried firearms or used firearms to I guess protect drugs or in drug trafficking.

Q: Or at least involved in the drug trafficking in some fashion.

A: Yes.

Q: Is that ...


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