United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. Guzmán, United States District Judge.
the Court are Kevin Reed’s pro se petition to vacate,
set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 and motions for discovery and an evidentiary
hearing, which are denied for the reasons set forth below.
1, 2013, Kevin Reed was indicted on six counts of wire fraud
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, in connection with a
scheme the Court of Appeals described as follows:
In 2008, Kevin Reed operated Lambert Clark Group and
affiliated companies that he claimed were able to make loans
of between $50 million and $1 billion to entrepreneurs and
start-ups. Reed charged would-be clients advance fees of
between $10, 000 and $50, 000 to apply for these loans. His
claims were lies: Reed’s companies had no funds to
lend, and while Reed and his co-defendants took in over $200,
000 from six would-be clients, they never closed a loan.
United States v. Reed, 859 F.3d 468, 470 (7th Cir.
co-defendants, Ralph Sweitzer and James Chatham, pleaded
guilty. In October 2013, the Court set Reed’s case for
trial on October 6, 2014. In September 2014, as Reed’s
trial date approached, a change of plea hearing for Reed was
set several times, but each time the matter was continued. On
September 21, 2014, Reed sought a continuance of the trial
date and to replace his attorney, Ralph Meczyk. The Court
granted Meczyk leave to withdraw and continued the trial date
to April 13, 2015 (and subsequently to April 20, 2015).
Stephen Richards and Joshua Richards entered appearances as
new counsel for Reed.
jury trial began on April 20, 2015. On the fourth day of
trial, Reed’s counsel informed the Court that Reed had
decided to plead guilty, and Reed entered a blind guilty plea
to all six counts of the indictment. About five months later,
Reed obtained substitute counsel, Thomas Leinenweber, and
then moved to withdraw his guilty plea. In support of his
motion, Reed submitted an affidavit in which he claimed that
trial counsel had been ill-prepared and failed to pay
attention at trial. (No. 13 CR 347, ECF No. 160-1, Aff. of
Kevin Reed.) In his motion, Reed said that he was “left
with the incorrect impression that pleading guilty was his
only option to remedy his trial counsel’s inadequate
performance.” (No. 13 CR 347, ECF No. 160, Def.’s
Mot. Withdraw Guilty Plea.) The Court denied the motion,
explaining that Reed had stated under oath during his plea
colloquy that he was satisfied with counsel’s
representation and had referred to him as “excellent,
” and that Reed’s claims of counsel’s
ineffectiveness were vague. (No. 13 CR 347, ECF No. 175,
Order of Apr. 7, 2016.)
Court sentenced Reed to a term of 64 months’
imprisonment. Reed appealed, raising two arguments: (1) he
should have been allowed to withdraw his guilty plea because
it was involuntary; and (2) at sentencing, the Court erred in
failing to address his principal argument in mitigation, that
a prison sentence would impose an extraordinary hardship on
his family. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment.
now moves for post-conviction relief, raising claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct,
and violation of the Speedy Trial Act. Reed also seeks
extensive discovery and an evidentiary hearing.
2255 allows a defendant to move to vacate, set aside, or
correct a sentence that was imposed in violation of the
Constitution or laws of the United States, was imposed by a
court that lacked jurisdiction, was in excess of the maximum
authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral
attack. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). 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. § 2255(b). 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); see
also Almonacid v. United States, 476 F.3d 518, 521 (7th
Cir. 2007) (§ 2255 relief “is an extraordinary
remedy because it asks the district court essentially to
reopen the criminal process to a person who already has had
an opportunity for full process”).
asserts in the first six grounds of his petition that trial
counsel was constitutionally ineffective in various ways.
Ineffective-assistance claims are analyzed under the two-part
Strickland test. United States v. Lindsay,
157 F.3d 532, 534 (7th Cir. 1998) (citing Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 688 (1984)). Under
Strickland, Reed must show (1) deficient
performance, i.e., that counsel’s
representation fell below an objective standard of
reasonableness, and (2) that as a result defendant was
prejudiced, in that there is a reasonable probability that,
but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the outcome of
the proceeding would have been different. See United
States v. Jansen, 884 F.3d 649, 655-56 (7th Cir. 2018).
“Because counsel is presumed effective, a party bears a
heavy burden in making a winning claim based on ineffective
assistance of counsel.” Shell v. United
States, 448 F.3d 951, 955 (7th Cir. 2006) (internal
punctuation and citation ...