United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Z. Lee, United States District Judge
Johnny Mendez has filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or
correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For the
reasons stated herein, Mendez's motion  is denied. His
motion for discovery  is also denied.
was arrested on December 12, 2012. See Order of 12/13/12, No.
12-CR-00969, ECF No. 15. On December 26, 2012, the Government
was granted a 45-day extension of time to seek the return of
an indictment against Mendez and his codefendants. See Order
of 12/26/12, No. 12-CR-00969, ECF No. 29. Subsequently,
Mendez was charged with multiple offenses relating to the
distribution of large quantities of cocaine and heroin, as
well as a firearms offense, on February 21, 2013. See
Indictment, No. 12-CR-00969, ECF No. 33. The charges were the
culmination of an “extensive investigation”
focusing on members of the Spanish Cobra street gang. Mem.
Op. & Order at 1, No. 12-CR-00969, ECF No. 255.
October 3, 2013, Mendez filed motions to suppress certain
evidence, including all evidence seized from his residence on
November 30, 2012; statements he made on that date; and
evidence obtained from wiretaps conducted during the
investigation. See Mots. to Suppress, No. 12-CR-00969, ECF
Nos. 164, 165, 169. The Court held a hearing on certain
aspects of these motions in June 2014. See Orders, No.
12-CR-00969, ECF Nos. 239, 240, 241, 243.
law enforcement officers testified at the hearing as to what
occurred when they arrived at Mendez's residence on
November 30, 2012. In its order denying the motions to
suppress, the Court summarized the hearing testimony as
When Officer Harris knocked on the door of the Mendez
residence and announced his presence, he saw Mendez look out
through the front window. Officer Harris told Mendez that
officers needed to talk to him, but Mendez responded to the
effect of “[f]*** that” and ran away from the
window. Officer Wagner approached the side door of the Mendez
residence and observed Mendez attempting to flee out of the
side door. When Mendez encountered Officer Wagner, he ran
back inside the house. Mendez then attempted to escape the
house through a window but was met by Officer Wagner and
again retreated into the house. Mendez was then observed in
the attic of the house, after which the officers lost sight
of him for a minute.
Mem. Op. & Order at 9 (citations omitted).
pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to
distribute and to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine
and 1000 grams or more of heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 846 (Count One) and possession of a firearm in
furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (Count Nineteen), pursuant to a
written plea agreement. See Plea Agreement, No. 12-CR-00969,
ECF No. 331. At the change of plea hearing, Mendez stated
that he had had sufficient time to speak with his attorney
about the case; that he was satisfied with the representation
he had received; and that he did not have any questions about
the case that he wished to discuss with his attorney. See
2/24/15 Hr'g Tr. at 6:3-11, No. 12-CR-00969, ECF No. 504.
He acknowledged that he had read the plea agreement,
discussed it with his attorney, had no further questions
about it, and signed it of his own free will. Id. at
10:21-12:14. He also admitted that the Government's
factual basis regarding Count Nineteen was true. Id.
was sentenced to a term of 180 months' imprisonment on
June 19, 2015. See Judgment, No. 12-CR-00969, ECF
No. 394. At sentencing, Mendez was informed of his right to
appeal. 6/19/15 Hr'g Tr. at 37:9-17, No. 12-CR-00969, ECF
No. 472. Mendez, however, did not file an appeal.
filed his § 2255 petition, along with a motion for
discovery, on June 17, 2016. See Def.'s §
2255 Mot., ECF No. 1; Def.'s Mot. Discovery, ECF No. 4.
Prior to the Government filing its response, Mendez sought
leave to amend his petition. See Def.'s Mot.
Amend, ECF No. 16. The Court granted Mendez leave to amend
his petition; however, Mendez did not file an amended
petition. See Order of 1/25/17, ECF No. 29; Order of
8/21/17, ECF No. 31.
2255 provides that a criminal defendant is entitled to relief
from his conviction and sentence if “the court finds
that the judgment was rendered without jurisdiction, or that
the sentence imposed was not authorized by law or otherwise
open to collateral attack, or that there has been such a
denial or infringement of the constitutional rights of the
prisoner as to render the judgment vulnerable to collateral
attack.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). A court may deny a
§ 2255 motion without an evidentiary hearing if
“the motion and the files and records of the case
conclusively show” that the defendant is not entitled
to relief. Id. Relief under § 2255 is available
“only in extraordinary situations, such as an error of
constitutional or jurisdictional magnitude or where a
fundamental defect has occurred which results in a complete
miscarriage of justice.” Blake v. United
States, 723 F.3d 870, 878-79 (7th Cir. 2013).
raises five grounds for relief, all of which relate to the
alleged ineffectiveness of his former attorney. To succeed,
Mendez's claims of ineffective assistance must satisfy
the standard set forth in Strickland v. Washington,
466 U.S. 668 (1984). First, he must show that his
attorney's performance was constitutionally deficient
insofar as it “fell below an objective standard of
reasonableness” as measured against “prevailing
professional norms.” Id. at 688. Second, he
must show that any error made by his attorney caused him
prejudice. Id. at 692.