Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Foster v. United States

July 21, 2010

RANDALL FOSTER, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeanne E. Scott, U.S. District Judge

OPINION

This cause is before the Court on Petitioner Randall Foster's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody (Motion) (d/e 1) and Memorandum of Law in Support of the 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Motion (d/e 10). Respondent filed Government's Response to Petitioner's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Response) (d/e 12). Petitioner then filed Petitioner's Reply to Government's Response to Petitioner's Motion Under U.S.C. [sic] 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (d/e 14). The Court held an evidentiary hearing on July 16, 2010. This matter is fully briefed and ripe for adjudication. For the reasons described below, Petitioner's Motion is denied.

FACTS

On June 6, 2007, the Government charged Petitioner in a two-count Indictment with: (1) knowingly receiving child pornography that had been mailed, shipped, and transported in interstate and foreign commerce, by any means, including computer, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(2)(A); and (2) knowingly possessing pictures, computer hard drives, computer discs and other material that contained three or more images of child pornography that had been mailed, shipped, and transported in interstate and foreign commerce, by any means, including computer, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(5)(B). Cent. Dist. of Ill. Case No. 07-30067, Indictment (d/e 1). At his arraignment hearing on June 27, 2007, U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron G. Cudmore appointed Assistant Federal Public Defendant Douglas Beevers to represent Petitioner, who pleaded not guilty. Cent. Dist. of Ill. Case No. 07-30067, Minute Entry of June 27, 2007.

On October 1, 2007, Petitioner entered guilty pleas to both charges before Judge Cudmore. Cent. Dist. of Ill. Case No. 07-30067, Minute Entry of October 1, 2007. Assistant Federal Public Defender William C. Zukosky joined the case as counsel for Petitioner on November 1, 2007. This Court accepted Petitioner's pleas of guilty on November 8, 2007. Cent. Dist. of Ill. Case No. 07-30067, Text Order of November 8, 2007. Prior to Petitioner's sentencing hearing on February 4, 2008, Assistant Federal Defender Robert A. Alvarado replaced Beevers and Zukosky as Petitioner's counsel of record. Cent. Dist. of Ill. Case No. 07-30067, Docket Entry of February 4, 2008.

The Court sentenced Petitioner to a 97-month term of imprisonment on each count, to run concurrently, in addition to a life term of supervised release and a $200 special assessment. Cent. Dist. of Ill. Case No. 07-30067, Minute Entry of February 4, 2008. As a condition of his supervised release, Petitioner was prohibited from possessing any material depicting nudity or sexual activity, and sexually arousing material. Cent. Dist. of Ill. Case No. 07-30067, Sentencing Recommendation (d/e 19), p.3-4, ¶ 5. At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, the Court advised Petitioner of his right to appeal. Cent. Dist. of Ill. Case No. 07-30067, Minute Entry of February 4, 2008 & Opinion (d/e 14). The Court entered judgment against Petitioner on February 8, 2008. Cent. Dist. of Ill. Case No. 07-30067, Judgment in a Criminal Case (d/e 16).

Petitioner filed his Notice of Appeal on November 17, 2008. Cent. Dist. of Ill. Case No. 07-30067, Notice of Appeal (d/e 24). However, on March 17, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit dismissed Petitioner's appeal as untimely. Cent. Dist. of Ill. Case No. 07-30067, Order of USCA (d/e 30). The Seventh Circuit issued its mandate on April 8, 2009. Cent. Dist. of Ill. Case No. 07-30067, USCA Mandate (d/e 31).

Petitioner filed this § 2255 action on February 4, 2009. On July 16, 2010, the Court held an evidentiary hearing on the question of whether Petitioner was denied his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel when Alvarado allegedly failed to advise Petitioner of his right to appeal. The Court appointed attorney Jason R. Vincent to represent Petitioner at the evidentiary hearing. Petitioner testified at the hearing that he did not request that Alvarado file a notice of appeal on his behalf, nor did he communicate a desire to appeal to Alvarado. Petitioner initially stated that he did not talk to Alvarado prior to his sentencing hearing on February 4, 2008, but later remembered that he had, in fact, communicated with Alvarado over the telephone regarding the Revised Presentence Investigation Report. Petitioner testified that he called Alvarado approximately one month after his sentencing hearing, but he does not recall asking Alvarado to file a notice of appeal or even asking about an appeal.

Alvarado also testified at the hearing. He remembered taking over Petitioner's criminal case in late 2007, after conferring with Beevers and Zukosky about the case. Alvarado remembered communicating with Petitioner over the phone prior to Petitioner's sentencing hearing. Alvarado said that he always discussed the applicable U.S. Sentencing Guidelines provisions with his clients prior to sentencing, and advised them that, while the ranges were advisory only, the Seventh Circuit treated any sentence within the Guidelines range as presumptively reasonable. Alvarado stated that he always discussed his clients' appellate rights with them in this context. In Petitioner's case, Alvarado stated that he was sure that he went over this information with Petitioner because Alvarado was coming into the case after two other attorneys had handled it, and he wanted to make certain that Petitioner understood his rights. Alvarado recommended a sentence of 97 months imprisonment, which was the low end of the Guidelines range, and the sentence imposed by the Court.

After the sentencing hearing, Alvarado remembered speaking with Petitioner over the telephone, but did not specifically remember the substance of the conversation. Alvarado stated that Petitioner did not instruct him to file a notice of appeal, and did not communicate a desire to appeal. After sentencing, Alvarado drafted a memorandum to Petitioner's file, as was his common practice and the policy of the Federal Public Defender's Office. Alvarado testified that he always indicated whether there would be an appeal in a case, and whether there would be a Rule 35 motion. In Petitioner's case, Alvarado indicated that there would be no appeal. He testified that he would not have done this had he not advised Petitioner of his appellate rights.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court found that Alvarado's testimony was credible, and that Petitioner had not been denied effective assistance of counsel. The Court also denied the remainder of the Motion, for the reasons stated of record at the time, and for the reasons described below.

ANALYSIS

Petitioner presents four grounds for relief in his Motion. First, Petitioner argues that the Court did not have jurisdiction to adjudge him guilty or sentence him because the Indictment did not allege a federal offense. Next, Petitioner argues that he was punished twice for the same offense, in violation of the Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy Clause. Petitioner's third argument is that his Sixth Amendment rights were violated because he was denied effective assistance of counsel in three respects: (1) trial counsel's failure to object to the "multiplicitous" counts in the Indictment; (2) trial counsel's failure to object to the conditions of his supervised release; and (3) counsel's failure to discuss Petitioner's appellate rights with him. Finally, Petitioner asserts that his due process rights under the Fifth Amendment were violated when the Court imposed a term of supervised release that exceeded the maximum term of imprisonment available for the charges of conviction.

Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is only appropriate if a petitioner demonstrates "flaws in the conviction or sentence which are jurisdictional in nature, constitutional in magnitude, or result in a complete miscarriage of justice." Boyer v. United States, 55 F.3d 296, 298 (7th Cir. 1995); see Scott v. United States, 997 F.2d 340, 342-43 (7th Cir. 1993). To prevail in a ยง 2255 action, a petitioner must show "a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice, []or an omission inconsistent with the rudimentary demands ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.