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United States v. Ward

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

November 4, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL A. WARD, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN W. DARRAH UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         Defendant Michael Ward filed a pro se Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct [1] his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For the reasons provided below, his Motion [1] is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         On June 6, 2012, Defendant was charged by indictment with wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 (Counts I-III), arising out of a fraudulent scheme in which he brokered and sold fraudulent commercial insurance policies to business owners and property managers. (Crim. Dkt. No. 20.)[1] Defendant entered a blind plea of guilty to all counts of the indictment on April 11, 2013. (Crim. Dkt. No. 45.) On February 20, 2014, Defendant was sentenced to 120 months' imprisonment on all counts of the indictment, to run concurrently. (Crim. Dkt. No. 70.) Defendant did not appeal his conviction. On May 1, 2015, Defendant filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.

         Defendant raises six claims in his petition, most of which allege ineffective assistance of counsel. Defendant alleges the following grounds on which he claims he is being held unlawfully:

1. propose a counteroffer to a plea agreement offered by the United States Attorney's Office;
2. submit corrections to his Presentence Investigation Report, specify a requested sentencing range, and provide a draft sentencing memorandum to Defendant prior to filing it;
3. argue against imposition of a sentencing enhancement for use of a special skill;
4. argue that Count I of the indictment alleged conduct that never occurred and thus, contained a factual error; and
5. contest a sentencing enhancement imposed for Defendant's violation of an existing administrative order.
6. Sixth Amendment violation - denial of right to counsel - of - choice.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Petitioner's pro se petition is construed liberally. Ward v. Jenkins, 613 F.3d 692, 700 (7th Cir. 2010). A prisoner convicted of a federal crime may move the district court that imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence. 28 U.S.C. § 2255. A petitioner must show 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Relief is only available in cases where jurisdictional or constitutional errors have caused a “complete miscarriage of justice.” Harris v. U.S., 366 F.3d 593, 594 (7th Cir. 2004) (quoting Borre v. United States, 940 F.2d 215, 217 (7th Cir. 1991)). This is an ...


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