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Dawson v. United States

October 26, 2010

RICHARD P. DAWSON, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is pro se Petitioner Richard Dawson's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For the following reasons, the Court denies Dawson's Section 2255 motion. Further, the Court declines to certify any issues for appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

In September 2001, Dawson helped organize and execute an armed robbery of a retail and wholesale butcher shop in Maywood, Illinois called Morris' Meat Packing. Dawson first learned of Morris' Meat Packing as a potential robbery target from a friend who claimed to have knowledge of the shop's operations. This friend told Dawson that the business often had large amounts of cash on its premises. Dawson conveyed this information to co-defendant Anthony Calabrese, who immediately expressed an interest in robbing the butcher shop. Calabrese then told Dawson to get as much information as possible about the store and to arrange a meeting between himself, Dawson, and Dawson's source, which Dawson eventually did. After the meeting, Calabrese began making arrangements to rob Morris' Meat Packing.

Thereafter, Calabrese recruited Edmond Frank for the robbery and Dawson recruited David Sims. Calabrese, Dawson, Frank, and Sims met at Sims' house on the morning of the armed robbery, September 17, 2001. While Dawson contacted his source to get some last minute information about the butcher shop, Calabrese sat at Sims' kitchen table, loaded his gun, and discussed the robbery with Sims. Sims asked if he needed to bring his gun to the robbery and Calabrese or Dawson indicated that he should.

The group then left Sims' house in two vehicles and drove to a location in Maywood where they left Sims' truck. Thereafter, they proceeded to the butcher shop in one vehicle. During the drive, Calabrese told Frank and Dawson that they were going inside of the butcher shop. Frank agreed, but Dawson did not. As such, when they arrived, Calabrese, Sims, and Frank proceeded inside, while Dawson remained in the car as the get-away driver.

Both Calabrese and Sims entered the butcher shop with firearms. Once inside, they walked through the store to a back office where Calabrese confronted one of the store's owners, who was sitting in the office talking with a neighborhood acquaintance. Upon entering the office, Calabrese brandished his weapon and demanded money from the owner, who gave Calabrese approximately $1,500 from an office file cabinet. Calabrese then directed the owner to a second office where the owner gave Calabrese an additional $14,000 and a gun. Before leaving the butcher shop, Calabrese demanded the owner's driver's license stating that if he did not keep his mouth shut, Calabrese would kill the owner's children.

Calabrese, Sims, and Frank then fled the store to the get-away car. When the group reconvened later that afternoon, Calabrese paid Dawson $1,000 for his participation in the robbery.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On September 14, 2006, a grand jury returned a Second Superseding Indictment charging Dawson with one count of armed robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951 and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii). On January 23, 2007, the Court presided over Dawson's change of plea hearing at which time Dawson entered a plea of guilty to the firearm charge pursuant to a written plea agreement. On February 19, 2009, the Court conducted Dawson's sentencing hearing and sentenced him to a total term of 60 months imprisonment. The Court then entered Dawson's judgment on February 23, 2009. Dawson did not file a direct appeal to the Seventh Circuit. Instead, he filed the present Section 2255 motion.

Under the terms of his written plea agreement, Dawson waived his right to directly appeal his sentence or to collaterally attack his sentence pursuant to Section 2255. Specifically, Dawson's written plea agreement stated in relevant part: "Defendant is also aware that 18 U.S.C. § 3742 affords a defendant the right to appeal the sentence imposed. Acknowledging this, Defendant knowingly waives the right to appeal any sentence within the maximum provided in the statute of conviction or the manner in which that sentence was determined, in exchange for the concessions made by the United States in this Plea Agreement." (R. 129-1, Plea Agmt. at 9.) Further, Dawson's plea agreement unequivocally stated that: "Defendant also waives his right to challenge his sentence or the manner in which it was determined in any collateral attack, including but not limited to a motion brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2255." (Id.)

At Dawson's January 23, 2007 change of plea hearing, that the Court asked Dawson:

In addition, you have agreed to waive your right to challenge the sentence or manner in which it was determined in any collateral attack, including a Section 2255 motion. Do you understand that? (Change of Plea Hr'g, at 22.) Dawson answered yes. (Id.) The Court further stated:

There is a limited exception to that waiver, Mr. Dawson, and I stress that it is limited. The waiver does not apply to a claim of voluntariness or ineffective assistance of counsel relating directly to the waiver or its negotiation. Do you understand that? (Id.) Dawson answered yes. (Id.) The Court also asked Dawson if anyone had threatened him to plead guilty or made promises to cause him to plead guilty to which Dawson answered no. (Id. at 23.) In ...


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