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Price v. United States

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

June 26, 2013

LARONE D. PRICE, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge.

Petitioner Larone D. Price, proceeding pro se, filed a motion for habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The Government submitted a response, opposing the motion, and Petitioner filed an untimely reply.[1] For the reasons provided below, Petitioner's Motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

On March 5, 2009, Petitioner was charged by indictment with conspiring and knowingly and intentionally attempting to possess, with intent to distribute, 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. Petitioner was initially represented by attorney Richard Beuke. Petitioner entered a plea of guilty as to Count I of the indictment on September 16, 2009, of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and there was no plea agreement. United States v. Price, Case No. 08-cr-00996-1, Dkt. No. 64. On March 16, 2010, Beuke withdrew his representation of Defendant, and attorney Linda Amdur was appointed to represent Petitioner. Id., Dkt. No. 86. Petitioner was sentenced to 135 months' imprisonment on August 31, 2010. Id. Dkt. No. 111. Petitioner appealed his sentence, and the Seventh Circuit dismissed his appeal. See United States v. Price, 423 Fed.App'x 644 (7th Cir. 2011).

Petitioner filed his Section 2255 motion on September 11, 2012, contending he had ineffective assistance of counsel at his sentencing; Petitioner asserts his claim on the basis of his "counsel(s)' failure to advocate throughout the sentencing proceedings; and, counsel(s)' unfamiliarity with the procedural process." (Pet'r's Mem. at 2.)

The Government opposes Petitioner's Section 2255 motion and argues Petitioner is unable to demonstrate he had ineffective counsel.

LEGAL STANDARD

Petitioners seek relief from their respective sentences under Section 2255, arguing they were denied the constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment. Section 2255 provides:

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255. The relief described here is available only if there was "an error of law that is jurisdictional, constitutional, or constitutes a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice.'" Bischel v. United States, 32 F.3d 259, 263 (7th Cir. 1994) (quoting Borre v. United States, 940 F.2d 215, 217 (7th Cir. 1992)). The district court must review the record and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the government. See Carnine v. United States, 974 F.2d 924, 928 (7th Cir. 1992). As Petitioner filed his petition pro se, it is entitled to a liberal reading. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).

Claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are reviewed under the two-prong test set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). Under this test, a petitioner must show both: (1) that counsel's performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness under the circumstances and (2) that the deficient performance prejudiced the defendant. Id. at 688-94. To establish prejudice, the petitioner must prove there is a reasonable probability the proceeding would have had a different result but for the errors of counsel. Id. at 694. If a petitioner fails to make a proper showing under one of the Strickland prongs, the Court need not consider the other. See Strickland, 466 U.S. at 697 ("In particular, a court need not determine whether counsel's performance was deficient before examining the prejudice suffered by the defendant.").

A district court's "review of the attorney's performance is highly deferential' and reflects a strong presumption that counsel's conduct falls within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance; that is, the defendant must overcome the presumption that, under the circumstances, the challenged action might be considered sound trial strategy.'" Koons v. United States, 639 F.3d 348, 351 (7th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted); Cooper v. United States, 378 F.3d 638, 641 (7th Cir. 2004) ("Defense counsel is strongly presumed to have rendered adequate assistance and to have made significant decisions in the exercise of his or her reasonable professional judgment.").

ANALYSIS

Beuke's Performance Did Not Render Ineffective ...


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