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Timothy W. Huddleston v. United States of America

January 3, 2011

TIMOTHY W. HUDDLESTON, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge

E-FILED Monday, 03 January, 2011 03:28:42 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION This matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Timothy Huddleston's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody (d/e 1) (Petition). For the reasons set forth below, the Petition is denied.

STATEMENT OF FACTS On December 4, 2007, a grand jury issued a three-count Superseding Indictment that charged Huddleston with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B) (Count 1), felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Count 2), and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) (Count 3). U.S. v. Huddleston, C.D.Ill. Case No. 07-30011, Superseding Indictment (d/e 32). On January 25, 2008, at the pretrial conference, Huddleston moved and was allowed to represent himself. His former attorney Jeffrey Page was appointed as standby counsel. U.S. v. Huddleston, C.D.Ill. Case No. 07-30011, Minute entry entered January 25, 2008. On February 1, 2008, the Government filed a Notice Regarding Prior Felony Drug Conviction pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 853 (Case No. 07-30011, d/e 39).

Huddleston's jury trial commenced on February 5, 2008. On February 6, 2008, at the conclusion of the trial, the jury found Huddleston guilty on all three counts. U.S. v. Huddleston, C.D.Ill. Case No. 07-30011, Minute entry entered February 6, 2008.

The Probation Office prepared a Revised Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) dated June 20, 2008 (Case No. 07-30011, d/e 78). The PSR stated that Huddleston was in criminal history category IV. PSR ¶ 52. The PSR stated that Huddleston was accountable for crack and cocaine powder that was considered equal to 1,260.18 kilograms of marijuana for purposes of the Sentencing Guidelines. As a result, the PSR put Huddleston's offense level at 30. PSR ¶¶ 22, 27, 39.

The sentencing hearing took place on July 21, 2008. The Court allowed Huddleston's objection to the drug quantity calculation in the PSR. The Court held Huddleston accountable for the 5.6 grams of crack cocaine that he possessed as part of the offense of conviction. This reduced the base offense level to 24. The Sentencing Guideline range would have been 77 to 96 months, but Huddleston faced a 120-month mandatory minimum sentence on Count 1 because of his prior felony drug trafficking conviction.

21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B). As a result the Guideline sentencing range on Count 1 was 120 months. U.S. v. Huddleston, C.D.Ill. Case No. 07-30011, Statement of Reasons (d/e 81), § I.B.1., Attachment; see U.S.S.G. § 5G1.2(a). Huddleston also faced a 60-month mandatory consecutive sentence on Count 3. 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(I). The Court sentenced Huddleston to 120 months on Count 1; 85 months on Count 2, to run concurrently with the sentence on Count 1; and 60 months on Count 3, to run consecutively with the sentences on Counts 1 and 2.

Huddleston appealed. Huddleston claimed on appeal that the District Court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence and that there was insufficient evidence to convict him on Count 3. On January 27, 2010, the Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence. United States v. Huddleston, 593 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2010). Huddleston filed the Petition on June 7, 2010.

ANALYSIS

Huddleston raises four issues in the Petition:

(1) He was actually innocent of possession of a weapon in furtherance of the drug trafficking conviction as charged in Count 3;

(2) He received ineffective assistance of counsel;

(3) The prior drug trafficking conviction was void and so should not have been used as a basis to impose a 120-month mandatory ...


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