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Kindle v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

May 29, 2015

MONTREECE KINDLE, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

HARRY D. LEINENWEBER, District Judge.

For the reasons stated herein, Petitioner Montreece Kindle's ("Kindle") Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence [ECF No. 1] is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

On September 8, 2009, Kindle was charged in an indictment with four offenses: (1) conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine (Count One); (2) attempted possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine (Count Two); (3) possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Count Three); and (4) possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony (Count Five). (No. 9 CR 687, ECF No. 18.) The facts of this case are summarized in United States v. Mayfield, 771 F.3d 417 (7th Cir. 2014), and briefly restated here.

This case arises from a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ("ATF") sting operation in which Kindle and his co-conspirators - Leslie Mayfield, Nathan Ward, and Dwayne White - planned and ultimately convened to carry out what they believed to be a stash house robbery. Mayfield, who had been recruited by a confidential informant ("CI"), Jeffrey Potts, was to assemble a crew, gather weapons, and help a disgruntled drug courier carry out the robbery. The drug courier was actually an undercover special agent, Dave Gomez.

According to the evidence presented at trial, on August 9, 2009, Mayfield, Kindle, Ward, and an individual known as "New York" met with Gomez to discuss the robbery. At the meeting, Kindle actively participated in the conversation. For instance, he asked Gomez questions about how long he would stay in the stash house, how many people would be in the stash house, and if the person answering the stash house door would be armed. At the end of the conversation, Kindle indicated that the plan was not too much for him to handle. The robbery was scheduled for the following day.

On August 10, 2009, Kindle, Ward, White, and Mayfield met with Gomez, who led them to a storage facility. After confirming that the men were "good" for the robbery, Gomez gave the arrest signal, and Kindle and the rest of his crew were taken into custody. The van in which Kindle, Ward, and White traveled to the storage facility contained weapons, ski masks, bullet-proof vests, latex gloves, and a large duffle bag. Following his arrest, Kindle confessed to his role in the scheme.

Before trial, the Government presented a motion in limine to preclude Defendants from presenting an entrapment defense. Only Mayfield filed a response, accompanied by a six-page, handwritten "statement of fact." (No. 9 CR 687, ECF No. 69.) The Court granted the Government's motion over Mayfield's objection, (No. 9 CR 687, ECF No. 95), and subsequently denied Mayfield's motion for reconsideration.

After a three-day trial, a jury found Kindle guilty on all four counts of the indictment. (No. 9 CR 687, ECF No. 104.) Kindle and his co-defendants all appealed their convictions, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence presented against them. See, United States v. Kindle, 698 F.3d 401, 405-08 (2012), vacated in part on reh'g en banc sub nom., Mayfield, 771 F.3d 417. Mayfield also appealed the Court's decision to grant the Government's motion in limine precluding his entrapment defense. Id. at 408-09. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the convictions. Id. at 412.

Mayfield subsequently petitioned for rehearing en banc solely on the issue of the entrapment defense. Upon rehearing, the Seventh Circuit vacated its decision on Mayfield's entrapment defense, holding that Mayfield's pre-trial proffer was sufficient to overcome the Government's motion in limine. Mayfield, 771 F.3d at 443. The Seventh Circuit indicated that it was reinstating the panel opinion to the extent that it resolved the appeals of Mayfield's co-defendants. Id. at 424 n.3.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a), a federal prisoner "may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence" on the basis that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States. To receive relief under § 2255, a prisoner must show a "fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice." United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 185 (1979) (citation and internal quotations omitted). Alternatively, relief may be granted if a prisoner can show the trial court made "an omission inconsistent with the rudimentary demands of fair procedure." Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424, 428 (1962). Relief under § 2255 is an "extraordinary remedy" because the petitioner "already has had an opportunity for full process." Almonacid v. United States, 476 F.3d 518, 521 (7th Cir. 2007).

III. ANALYSIS

Kindle claims that he is entitled to relief under § 2255 for three reasons: (1) he received ineffective assistance of counsel, (2) his conviction was based on perjured testimony, and (3) his conviction was based on fabricated evidence because no stash house or drugs actually existed. (ECF No. 1, at 5.) The Court begins with Kindle's second and third arguments, which were not raised in his direct appeal, ...


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