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Conroy v. Walton

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 20, 2015

JOHN ALAN CONROY, No. 42054-177, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN WALTON, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DAVID R. HERNDON, District Judge.

Petitioner John Alan Conroy, an inmate currently housed at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, is petitioning for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He wants to overturn his criminal conviction and sentence in United States v. Conroy, Case No. 10-cr-00041-C-BG-1 (N.D. Tex. 2011).

Conroy's amended petition (Doc. 10) is now before the Court for preliminary review pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in United States District Courts. Rule 4 provides that upon preliminary consideration by the district court judge, "[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner." Rule 1(b) of those Rules gives this Court the authority to apply the rules to other habeas corpus cases, such as this action under 28 U.S.C. § 2241.

Procedural History

Petitioner Conroy pleaded guilty to production of child pornography (18 U.S.C. § 2251(a)) and receiving a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct (18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2)). United States v. Conroy, No. 10-cr-041-C-BG. Doc. 271 (N.D. Tex.). In March 2011, he was sentenced to a total term of 405 months' imprisonment. Id. at Doc. 36. Consistent with the plea agreement, no direct appeal was taken.

For purposes of the plea agreement and sentencing, [1] Conroy admitted that that while he was unemployed and often left to care for his live-in girlfriend's children, he engaged in numerous sexual acts with the victim, who at the time was 7 years old. Relevant to the present habeas corpus action, Conroy and the victim performed oral sex on each other (with Conroy "in control" of the victim's head, and with the victim chocking on Conroy's penis); Conroy placed a razor in the victim's anus, causing lacerations, which the victim said "hurt really bad, " because Conroy had trouble penetrating her anus with his penis. These acts were videotaped, and the recordings were found during a consent search, as was a razor matching the description given by the victim. Conroy was interrogated by law enforcement agents, and he admitted to having sexual contact with the victim on 12 occasions during an approximately nine-month period. Other details are not relevant to this action and, therefore, have been omitted.

In February 2012, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, Conroy moved to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. Conroy v. United States, No. 12-cv-015-C, Doc.

1. (N.D. Tex.). He contended his trial counsel was ineffective by:

(1) failing to relay discovery materials to Conroy until 255 days after sentencing, leaving Conroy uninformed during the plea and sentencing process-unable to challenge false aspects of the presentence report;
(2) failing to research and move for the suppression of evidence stemming from promises, threats and coercion by the state police during Conroy's initial interrogation, search and seizure;
(3) not moving to dismiss based on a Speedy Trial Act violation; and
(4) failing to secure a mental competency evaluation in light of Conroy's history of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and impulse control disorder.

By order dated September 24, 2013, the district court denied Conroy's Section 2255 motion. Conroy, No. 12-cv-015-C, Doc. 14. In March 2014, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit subsequently declined to issue a certificate of appealability because Conroy had failed to make a substantial showing of a constitutional right. Id. at Doc. 20.

In October 2014, the Fifth Circuit denied Conroy's request to proceed with a successive Section 2255 petition. In re John Alan Conroy, No. 14-10643 (5th Cir. 2014). Among the reasons proffered for filing a successive petition, Conroy asserted that discovery materials were not disclosed as part of an effort to cover-up an unconstitutional interrogation and confession-i.e., where he was threatened. Id., Memo in Support, p. 30. The appellate court concluded Conroy had failed to make a prima facie ...


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