The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID COAR, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Petitioner Daisy Walls' motion to vacate her sentence pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is before this court. For the following
reasons, the court finds that habeas relief is not warranted and
denies Walls' motion in its entirety.
A. Walls' Trial and Conviction
On November 13, 1998, following a jury trial, Walls was
convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a
substance containing cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846
(Count I), and conspiracy to distribute a substance containing
cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 (Count II).
Walls was represented by Lawrence Wolf Levin at trial. Prior to
trial, the defense filed a motion to suppress the evidence of the
cocaine. In support of her motion, Walls argued that the
privately-employed Federal Express ("FedEx") employees who
initially opened the packages containing the cocaine were
performing a public, law-enforcement function and, thus, were
functionally equivalent to government agents. Walls thus
contended that the initial search was subject to the dictates of
the Fourth Amendment and further contended that it did not comply therewith. Following a hearing held over the course of two days
and some intervening discovery, this court denied the motion.
Subsequently, the drug evidence was admitted at trial. Numerous
government witnesses testified at trial. Walls did not testify at
On April 22, 1998, FedEx employees in Memphis, Tennessee
searched two packages that were addressed to the "Tascam
Electrical Supply Company" at 9121 South Colfax in Chicago and
discovered cocaine therein. The packages were addressed to the
attention of Walls. There is no "Tascam Electrical Supply
Company" in Chicago, and 9121 S. Colfax is Walls' private
single-family residence. FedEx subsequently notified the Drug
Enforcement Agency ("DEA") of its discovery of the cocaine, and
the DEA decided to make a "controlled delivery" of the packages
to Walls' home. Court-ordered break-wire devices were inserted
into the packages to facilitate the agents' tracking of the
packages following their delivery.
The next day, DEA Agent Homer Markhart posed as a FedEx
deliveryperson to make the delivery. He wore a FedEx uniform,
drove a FedEx truck to Walls' house, and approached her door with
the packages. Markhart testified at trial about Walls' conduct
during the delivery, as well as that of several other people in
and around the residence at the time. Included in his testimony
was his recollection of a young girl yelling, "Mama, your package
is here" as he approached the house. See Pet. Br., p. 4. He
also testified that after Walls came to the door, she carefully
scrutinized his clothing and avoided signing for the packages
first by asking her son, Danielle Walls ("Danielle"), to sign for the packages and
ultimately by signing the name of the corporate addressee (rather
than her own name). See Pet. Br., p. 5. He also testified that
she exclaimed "I'll sign the electric company" before she could
have seen the address labels on the packages (because he held the
packages with the clipboard on top of them). The defense did not
present any evidence to contradict this testimony. See Pet.
Br., p. 6.
The trial testimony established that after Walls had signed for
and accepted the packages, Markhart departed from her home.
Thereafter, Sharee Williams (Walls' co-defendant) and Danielle
exited the rear of the house with the packages and went to a
neighboring house. Following a series of events culminating with
the cessation of the transmission of the signal from one of the
packages (which normally would indicate that the package had been
opened), the agents proceeded to the residence to which Williams
and Danielle had gone. There they found the unopened packages.
The agents then proceeded to Walls' residence, where they
knocked, identified themselves, and informed Walls of their
investigation. Ultimately, Walls opened the door and stepped
back, and the agents stepped inside.*fn2
Markhart testified that petitioner subsequently invited him and
the other agents to talk privately with her in the kitchen. See
Pet. Br., p. 6. The agents administered Walls' Miranda rights,
which she acknowledged. The government's witnesses, including
Markhart, testified that Walls admitted that this was the third
time that she had accepted similar packages and that she knew the
packages at issue contained cocaine. They further testified that
she informed them that the packages belonged to Delano Target, a member of the Gangster
Disciples street gang. The defense did not present any evidence
to contradict the government's evidence relating to Walls'
confession. See Pet. Br., pp. 6-7.
C. Walls' Post-Trial Motion and Subsequent Appeal
Following her November 13, 1998 conviction, Walls filed a
motion for a new trial on December 4, 1998. The court denied the
motion on December 15, 1998. On February 1, 1999, James A. Stamos
replaced Mr. Levin as Walls' counsel. On March 18, 1999, this
court sentenced Walls to 108 months' imprisonment, pursuant ...