January 12, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 13 C 9025 - Harry
D. Leinenweber, Judge.
BAUER, SYKES, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.
Nathan Ward and his codefendants were convicted on several
counts arising out of a stash-house robbery sting. They
challenged their convictions on direct appeal; Ward's
conviction was affirmed. Ward filed a petition under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255, seeking relief on several grounds, including
ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court denied
the petition without holding a hearing. On appeal, Ward
focuses on one issue: whether he received ineffective
assistance of counsel when his trial counsel failed to raise
an entrapment defense and object to the government's
motion in limine seeking to preclude that defense.
story begins with codefendant Leslie Mayfield and Jeffrey
Potts, a confidential informant for the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Potts recruited
Mayfield to carry out an armed robbery of a cocaine stash
house; Mayfield was unaware that Potts was a confidential
informant and that the stash house did not exist.
23, 2009, Potts and Mayfield met with a disgruntled drug
courier. Unbeknownst to Mayfield, this drug courier was
actually undercover ATF Agent David Gomez. Gomez gave
Mayfield an overview of the plan to rob his cocaine
supplier's stash house, and he instructed Mayfield to
recruit others to join. After maintaining contact for the
next couple weeks, Mayfield and Gomez planned to meet on
August 9, 2009.
August 9, 2009, as planned, they held a meeting at a strip
mall parking lot in Naperville, Illinois, which lasted
approximately 20 minutes. At that meeting, Mayfield brought
along Montreece Kindle, and Kindle brought Ward and a person
known only as "New York." Gomez provided the group
details about the plan to rob the stash house, including the
number of armed guards, the amount of cocaine, and how he
would be informed of the location of the cocaine supply. The
group then discussed logistics of their robbery plan.
actively participated in this discussion. For example, when
Gomez proposed that they split the cocaine fifty-fifty, Ward
disagreed, insisting that the cocaine be split evenly five
ways. After fielding several questions, Gomez told them to
let him know if the armed robbery plan was too much for any
of them to handle; no one did so, and Ward responded that he
was only gathering as much information as possible. Further,
Ward mentioned that his only concern was the number of guards
stationed in the stash house. However, he was not concerned
with whether the guards were armed because, as he asserted,
they would enter the stash house with their guns already
August 10, 2009, Ward and Kindle met at Mayfield's
apartment with a newcomer named Dwayne White; "New
York" was a no-show. In a van, Ward drove Mayfield,
White, and Kindle to a designated parking lot to meet Gomez.
Once they arrived, Mayfield exited Ward's van and entered
Gomez's vehicle. Gomez then drove to a nearby storage
facility; Ward, with the others in the van, followed. Soon
after arriving at the storage facility, Gomez asked them if
they had any hesitations with proceeding with the robbery
plan. No one voiced any concerns. Instead, Ward announced
that he did not "come all the way from Milwaukee for
nothin'." Shortly after Gomez received assurances
from the group, he gave an arrest signal; ATF agents arrested
Ward, Kindle, White, and May-field. ATF agents searched the
van that Ward was driving and recovered three masks, several
guns each with multiple rounds of ammunition, two bulletproof
vests, latex gloves, and a large duffle bag.
and the others were charged with four counts: conspiracy to
possess with intent to distribute cocaine, 21 U.S.C. §
846; attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine,
id.; possession of firearms during and in relation
to a drug trafficking offense, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A);
and, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon,
id. § 922(g). Ward, Mayfield, and White were
tried together in July 2010, while Kindle's trial was
severed. Prior to trial, the government filed a motion in
limine to preclude the defendants from presenting
entrapment defenses. Mayfield objected to the
government's motion, but Ward and the others did not. The
district court granted the government's motion.
trial, Ward elected not to testify, but Mayfield did.
Mayfield testified that he did not know anyone in the
Naper-ville area that would do the armed robbery with him.
According to Mayfield, he did not contact anyone about
participating in the armed robbery until August 7, 2009,
which is the date he claimed that he called Kindle. Mayfield
testified that based on his call to Kindle, Ward and
"New York" showed up at his apartment, and that
Kindle brought both of them. Mayfield testified that he was
not an acquaintance of Ward and that he did not contact him.
Mayfield testified that, on August 9, 2009, he briefly talked
to Ward, Kindle, and "New York" on the drive to
meet Gomez, but he did not "lay everything out to
14, 2010, a jury convicted Ward on all counts. The district
court later sentenced him to 270 months' imprisonment. We
affirmed Ward's conviction on direct appeal. See
Kindle, 698 F.3d at 405-08. The panel's decision was
vacated, but it was reinstated to the extent that it affirmed