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United States v. Edwards

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 28, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
TIMOTHY EDWARDS, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Reduce Sentence under the First Step Act of 2018 filed by Defendant Timothy Edwards, as well as two motions to compel discovery and a motion for clarification (Docs. 269, 272, 273, 280). Also pending before the Court is the Motion to Withdraw filed by the Federal Public Defender appointed in this matter (Doc. 276). For the reasons set forth below, Edwards's motions are denied, and the motion to withdraw is granted.

         Background

         On July 11, 2016, Edwards pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana (Count 1), making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer (Count 2), and maintaining drug-involved premises (Count 3) (Doc. 132). He was sentenced by now-retired District Judge David R. Herndon[1]to 84 months' imprisonment on Counts 1 and 3, and 60 months on Count 2, to be served concurrently (Doc. 174).

         Edwards filed a direct appeal of his conviction, which was dismissed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals as untimely (Doc. 219). On August 17, 2018, Edwards filed a motion for new trial, which was denied by Judge Herndon (Docs. 222, 232). Edwards then appealed that order on October 22, 2018 (Doc. 234), before filing a motion to withdraw his guilty plea on November 16, 2018 (Doc. 240). Judge Herndon denied the motion to withdraw Edwards's guilty plea for lack of jurisdiction (Doc. 241), because the case was then on appeal. Edwards appealed that order as well (Doc. 242). The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals consolidated Edwards's appeals for purposes of briefing and disposition. United States v. Edwards, No. 18-3548 (7th Cir. Nov. 30, 2018).

         On April 5, 2019, while his consolidated appeal was still pending, Edwards filed a Motion for Immediate Release on Bond Pending Appeal (Doc. 250). The Court denied Edwards's motion on April 26, 2019, finding that his appeal of the district court's denial of his motion for new trial and motion to withdraw guilty plea did not raise a substantial question of law or fact and was not likely to result in reversal or a new trial on all counts (Doc. 254). Thus, he was not entitled to be released on bond while the appeal was pending (Id.).

         Also on April 26, 2019, Edwards filed a letter asking, in part, that he be resentenced under the First Step Act (Doc. 253). Edwards stated that he was a first-time, non-violent offender, his mother is ill, and he is more than 500 miles away from his daughters and fiancé. Accordingly, he asked that the Court grant his 404(b) motion. On May 1, the Court denied Edwards's request for lack of jurisdiction due to his pending appeal (Doc. 255). The following day, May 2, 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a non-precedential opinion affirming the district court's disposition of Edwards's motion for new trial and motion to withdraw his guilty plea. United States v. Edwards, Nos. 18-3254 & 18-3548, 2019 WL 1964609, at *1 (7th Cir. May 2, 2019).

         On May 6, 2019, Edwards again filed a Notice of Appeal (Doc. 257), this time with regard to the Court's denial of his Motion for Release from Custody Pending Appeal (Doc. 254) and the denial of his request for resentencing under the First Step Act for lack of jurisdiction due to his then-pending appeal (Doc. 255). The Court of Appeals dismissed that appeal as moot on May 17, 2019 (Doc. 270-2).

         Discussion

         I. Motion for Clarification of Dismissal for Lack of Jurisdiction

         Edwards has filed a motion asking the Court to review the timeline in which his initial First Step Act motion was denied for lack of jurisdiction (Doc. 269). He argues that the Court erred when it said it lacked jurisdiction because he received a Notice of Dismissal of his appeal on May 2, 2019.

         The Court denied Edwards's initial First Step Act motion for lack of jurisdiction on May 1, 2019, while his appeal was still pending. Therefore, the Court rightly dismissed the motion for lack of jurisdiction. See United States v. Rincon, 477 Fed.Appx. 391, 393 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing United States v. McHugh, 528 F.3d 538, 540 (7th Cir. 2008)) (defendant's filing of notice of appeal divested district court of jurisdiction to determine motion to reconsider). Thus, Edwards's Motion for Clarification of Dismissal for Lack of Jurisdiction (Doc. 269), to the extent he asserting the Court erred in its conclusion, is denied.

         II. Motion for Discovery

         On July 8, 2019, Edwards filed a Motion for Discovery with the Court requesting certain evidence used by his retained attorney and the Government that apparently influenced his decision to accept a guilty plea (Doc. 272). Specifically, Edwards seeks the transcript of a wiretap that he contends does not actually exist. Edwards claims the lack of such evidence will prove his innocence. He also requests the Court turn over the signed warrant for the alleged ...


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