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White v. United States

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

June 18, 2015

DWAYNE WHITE, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

HARRY D. LEINENWEBER, District Judge.

For the reasons stated herein, Petitioner Dwayne White's ("White") Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence [ECF No. 1], and Motion for Default Judgment [ECF No. 6] are denied.

I. BACKGROUND

On September 8, 2009, White 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 offense (Count Three); and (4) possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony (Count Seven). (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 White and his co-conspirators - Leslie Mayfield, Montreece Kindle, and Nathan Ward - 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. White was not present. Mayfield and the other men discussed the logistics of how the robbery would be carried out and, at the end of the conversation, indicated that the robbery was not too much for them to handle. The robbery was scheduled for the following day.

On August 10, 2009, White appeared in a brown van - along with Mayfield, Kindle, and Ward - at an Aurora, Illinois parking lot where Gomez was waiting in another vehicle. Mayfield got into Gomez's vehicle, and Gomez led the crew to a storage facility. When the men exited their vehicles at the storage facility, Gomez noticed White, who had not attended the previous day's meeting. Both White and Mayfield indicated that White was Mayfield's little brother. White affirmed that he knew about the details of the robbery, and Mayfield indicated that White was "100 percent" committed to the plan. Nevertheless, Gomez went through the details of the robbery with White. White indicated that he understood, and that the more information Gomez provided, the better. White also asked Gomez how many guns would be in the stash house.

After confirming that all the men were "good" for the robbery, Gomez gave the arrest signal, and White and the other crew members were taken into custody. The van in which White, Kindle, and Ward traveled to the storage facility contained weapons, bullet-proof vests, latex gloves, and a large duffle bag. An agent recovered a black ski mask from White's pocket. White informed the agent that he was lucky that he had not been caught with the "work, " meaning the narcotics.

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 one-week trial, a jury found White guilty on all four counts of the indictment. (No. 9 CR 687, ECF No. 186.) White and his co-defendants 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 ...


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