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Woodson v. United States

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS PEORIA DIVISION


November 5, 2007

MAURICE WOODSON, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joe Billy McDADE United States District Judge

ORDER

Before the Court is the Motion for a Certificate of Appealability filed on September 20, 2007 [Doc. 13] and the Memorandum in Support filed on October 22, 2007 [Doc. 16]. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is DENIED.

A certificate of appealability may only issue "if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right." Plaintiff argues that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to explain the differences between cocaine base and crack cocaine. Petitioner states that he believed that the two substances were the same; however, he now understands that each substance carries different penalties. Petitioner asserts that had he known of the difference he would not have pled guilty. He further argues that his plea was not intelligently made as he lacked knowledge of this essential element.

In this Court's Order denying Petitioner's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence, this Court found that Petitioner was aware that he was charged with the possession of crack cocaine. Thus, this Court found that even if counsel had failed to inform him of the differences, he suffered no prejudice because he was aware of the differences as indicated in the change of plea colloquy. Petitioner has offered no substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. Petitioner argues that had he known of the disparate sentencing for crack and cocaine base, he would not have plead guilty. The only indication that he may have been confused is a brief portion of the change of plea hearing where he indicated that crack and cocaine base meant the same thing in his mind. Such a showing is not "substantial" and does not warrant the issuance of a certificate of appealability in light of other portions of the change of plea colloquy that informed Petitioner of what he was charged with. As such, his request for a Certificate of Appealability is DENIED.

Entered this 5th day of November, 2007

20071105

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