Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Boynes

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

January 23, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
DARRYL BOYNES, Petitioner.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JAMES R. SPENCER, District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on Petitioner Darryl Boynes's pro se Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 ("§ 2255 Motion") (ECF No. 93). The Court previously denied Boynes's § 2255 Motion on October 20, 2011, without granting Petitioner's request for an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, the Fourth Circuit vacated the Court's Order as to a single allegation of ineffective assistance of counsel and remanded the case so that an evidentiary hearing could be held. An evidentiary hearing was held on December 3, 2013.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

Boynes was detained on a criminal complaint in May 2005. He was eventually charged in a three-count indictment for conspiracy to distribute five or more grams of cocaine, cocaine distribution, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and in causing the death of William Jenkins. See 21 U.S.C. §§ 841, 846; 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) and (j). On February 1, 2006, three weeks before trial, Boynes moved to waive his right to jury trial through his Attorney, Jeffrey Everhart.[1] The Court granted the motion on the same day. The Court presided over a bench trial on February 21, 2006, and found Boynes guilty on all three counts.

Subsequently, Boynes filed a complaint against Everhart with the Virginia State Bar, causing Everhart to seek to withdraw as counsel. Boynes alleged that Everhart had waived Boynes's right to a jury trial without the defendant's consent-an allegation to which Everhart strenuously objected. The Court granted the motion to withdraw, and the Clerk appointed Attorney Mark Tyndall to represent Boynes during his sentencing phase.

On July 26, 2006, while represented by Tyndall, Boynes moved for a new trial, arguing that he never consented to a waiver of his right to a jury trial. The Court heard the motion at a consolidated hearing on July 31, 2006 ("Motions Hearing"). Boynes did not testify at the Motions Hearing, but argued through counsel that he never verbally waived his right to a jury in court. Everhart testified under oath that Boynes had communicated to Everhart both that he understood his Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial and also that he wanted to proceed with a bench trial for strategic reasons. The Court found that Boynes's waiver was knowing and voluntary and accordingly denied Boynes's motion for a new trial. The Court subsequently sentenced Boynes to the statutory maximum sentences on Counts One and Two, to be served concurrently, and a consecutive term of life in prison on Count Three.

On direct appeal, the Fourth Circuit affirmed Boynes's conviction and later denied a hearing en banc. See United States v. Boynes , 515 F.3d 284 (4th Cir. 2008); United States v. Boynes , 523 F.3d 451 (4th Cir. 2008). The panel noted that it would prefer a district court to "insure itself on the record before accepting the defendant's jury waiver." Id. at 286-88. Nonetheless, the panel held that the Court did not err when it found no evidence supporting Boynes's claim that Everhart unilaterally waived Boynes's right to a jury trial. Id. The panel further rejected Boynes's argument that his contentious relationship with Everhart made it impossible for Boynes to knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to jury trial. Id. at 287-88. The Fourth Circuit later denied rehearing en banc .

On October 6, 2010, Boynes filed the instant § 2255 Motion, alleging eighteen separate grounds for relief. One of these grounds alleged that Attorney Tyndall provided Boynes with constitutionally deficient assistance of counsel ("Sixth Amendment Claim").[2] Specifically, Boynes alleged that because of Attorney Tyndall's friendship with Boynes's former counsel, Everhart, Tyndall improperly denied Boynes the opportunity to testify at the Motions Hearing in support of his motion for a new trial. Boynes asserts that he informed Tyndall he wanted to tell the Court that Everhart had never discussed "waiving his right to jury trial, " but that Tyndall refused to pursue the issue "because of his friendship and close relationship with prior defense counsel Mr. Everhart." (Pet'r's Mem. Supp. 2255 Mot. 13-14.)

B. Prior Opinions

In its initial consideration of Boynes's Sixth Amendment Claim, this Court asked, as a threshold question, whether Boynes had a constitutional right to testify at the Motions Hearing. The Court acknowledged that the Sixth Amendment guarantee to testify at trial on one's own behalf extends to certain post-trial proceedings. Rock v. Arkansas , 483 U.S. 44, 51 n.9 (1987). However, the Court reasoned that denying Boynes the opportunity to testify at a motion for a new trial implicated neither Fifth nor Sixth Amendment rights because he had been afforded the opportunity to present evidence at the Motions Hearing and to call witnesses during his trial.

The Court did note, however, that "[d]ue process might have required Tyndall to allow Boynes to testify, had there been any allegation, or any evidence, that Boynes objected to Everhart about the waiver of his right to a jury trial." United States v. Boynes , No. 3:05-CR-313, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157463, at *41 (E.D. Va. Oct. 20, 2011). However, the Court relied on its prior determination, affirmed by the Fourth Circuit, to conclude that no such evidence existed. See United States v. Boynes , 515 F.3d 284 (4th Cir. 2008).[3] Accordingly, the Court denied Boynes's § 2255 Motion on the Sixth Amendment Claim, as well as all other claims asserted.

On appeal, the Fourth Circuit noted that Boynes could be entitled to relief if he could prove that Tyndall "labored under an actual conflict of interest.'" United States v. Boynes , No. 11-7711, 2013 U.S.App. LEXIS 11910, at *2 (4th Cir. 2013) (citing Cuyler v. Sullivan , 446 U.S. 335 (1980)). The court indicated that the existence of an actual conflict of interest negated the requirement to prove prejudice resulted from constitutionally deficient representation. The Fourth Circuit noted, however, that Boynes could also attempt to prove that Tyndall's representation was deficient under the more common standard requiring proof of deficient performance and prejudice. See Strickland v. Washington , 466 U.S. 668 (1987). The court could not say that Boynes's § 2255 Motion and the case record conclusively ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.