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Hendricks v. United States

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

September 24, 2019




         This cause is before the Court on Petitioner Jerry Lee Hendricks' amended motion to vacate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (d/e 26). A hearing on the amended motion is not required because "the motion, files, and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief." Hutchings v. United States, 618 F.3d 693, 699-700 (7th Cir. 2010). Because Petitioner is not entitled to relief, Petitioner's amended § 2255 motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On April 18, 2012, Petitioner was charged with four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of possession of child pornography, and one count of committing a felony sex offense involving a minor while required to register as a sex offender. United States v. Hendricks, Case No. 12-cr-20025 (hereinafter, Crim.), Indictment (d/e 1). Petitioner proceeded to trial on all counts.

         At trial, the jury heard testimony from Petitioner's minor victim. The victim testified that Petitioner removed her clothes, took sexually explicit photographs of her, and sexually assaulted her. See Crim., Transcript (d/e 73), at 184-86. While being sexually assaulted, the victim asked several times if she could use the bathroom; Petitioner eventually relented. Id at 186-87. After getting away from Petitioner, the victim went downstairs and showed her mother what Petitioner had done. Id

         The jury also heard testimony about how the photographs of the victim were obtained from Petitioner's cell phone. See id. at 233-36. In addition, the jury was informed that the parties had stipulated to the fact that Petitioner's cell phone was mailed, shipped, or transported in interstate or foreign commerce. See Id . at 129. On July 17, 2013, the jury found Petitioner guilty on all counts. See Crim., Verdict (d/e 43).

         Prior to Petitioner's sentencing hearing, the United States Probation Office filed a third revised Presentence Investigation Report (PSR). Crim., d/e 56. The PSR noted that Petitioner faced a mandatory life sentence on each of Counts 1 through 4. IcL ¶ 132. In addition, the PSR noted that Petitioner was objecting to several paragraphs of the PSR. See id. at 32-35.

         Prior to the sentencing hearing, Petitioner filed a Sentencing Memorandum. Crim., d/e 58. In the Sentencing Memorandum, Petitioner stated that although he disagreed with findings in the PSR regarding the conduct underlying his offenses and one of his prior convictions, he had no formal objections to the PSR. Id at 3-4.

         Petitioner's sentencing hearing took place on June 26, 2014. At the hearing, Petitioner withdrew his objections to the PSR, leaving no outstanding objections remaining. Crim., Transcript (d/e 80), at 4-5; see also Amended PSR (d/e 59), at 32-35. The Court sentenced Petitioner to life imprisonment on each of Counts 1 through 4. Crim., Judgment (d/e 60), at 2. The Court also imposed a consecutive sentence of 20 years' imprisonment on Count 5 and, on Count 6, another consecutive sentence of 10 years' imprisonment. Id

         On June 30, 2014, Petitioner timely appealed his sentence. See Crim., Notice of Appeal (d/e 63). On appeal, Petitioner argued that "life imprisonment was not mandatory on any count of conviction" because "his prior convictions that triggered the recidivism enhancement were not alleged in the indictment or proven to a jury." United States v. Hendricks, 615 Fed.App'x 383, 384 (7th Cir. 2015). On September 25, 2015, the Seventh Circuit found that Petitioner had "waived any challenge to his sentence" and affirmed the judgment. Id at 383.

         In September 2016, Petitioner filed his initial § 2255 motion. Petitioner has subsequently filed, with the Court's leave, several amended § 2255 motions.[1] On August 21, 2017, the Government filed its Response to Petitioner's Motion Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (d/e 27). Petitioner filed a reply (d/e 34) in December 2017.

         II. ANALYSIS

         At the outset, the Court notes that it construes Petitioner's pro se § 2255 motion liberally, as required. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).[2] However, liberal construction of the motions does not inure to Petitioner's benefit to the extent that the motions are not understandable. See Hudson v. McHugh, 148 F.3d 859, 864 (7th Cir. 1998).

         The Court has been able to decipher several claims set forth by Petitioner. First, Petitioner alleges that the actions of Jeffrey Honeycutt, a detective with the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office, in obtaining a search warrant for Petitioner's cell phone constitute a fraud upon the court. See Motion (d/e 1), at 11-13, 17-18. Second, Petitioner claims that trial counsel and appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance in representing Petitioner. See, e.g., Motion (d/e 11), at 19-27; Motion (d/e 11-1), at 1-9. Third, Petitioner claims error with respect to the sentence imposed by the Court in June 2014. See, e.g., Motion (d/e 26), at Motion (d/e 26-2), at 2-15.[3] Petitioner is not entitled to relief on any of his claims.

         A. Fraud Upon the Court

         Petitioner alleges that Detective Honeycutt lied to a state court judge in his affidavit for a search warrant when he stated that he secured a cell phone that was in Petitioner's possession when Petitioner was arrested.[4] See Motion (d/e 1), at 11-13, 17-18. At Petitioner's trial, Detective Honeycutt testified that he obtained Petitioner's cell phone from Petitioner's personal property at the hospital. Crim., Transcript (d/e 75), at 66. The affidavit Detective Honeycutt submitted to the state court judge to obtain a search warrant for Petitioner's cell phone stated that the phone "was in [Petitioner's] possession at the time he was arrested." Motion (d/e 1), at ...

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