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United States v. Magwood

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

April 14, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DARRYL JAROD MAGWOOD, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

LEONIE M. BRINKEMA, District Judge.

Darryl Jarod Magwood ("Magwood" or "movant") acting pro se has filed a Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence By a Person in Federal Custody ("§ 2255 Motion"), in which he argues that he received constitutionally ineffective assistance from his defense counsel, Jonathan Simms, ("Simms"), in connection with his decision to reject a government offer of a plea agreement and go to trial. He also alleges that counsel coerced him into waiving a trial by jury, and failed to file a Rule 29 or 33 motion to dismiss the conviction for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug transaction. For relief he asks the Court to "vacate and remand for re-sentencing on plea offer, without AUSA responding or order an evidentiary hearing." § 2255 Motion at 11. At no point in his motion does Magwood allege he is innocent of the offenses for which he was convicted. Because the § 2255 Motion lacks merit on its face, neither a response from the government nor an evidentiary hearing is required, and the § 2255 Motion will be summarily dismissed.[1]

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On August 9, 2012, Magwood was indicted along with co-defendant Jawan Ronell Halton with one count of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1) and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).

The case was originally scheduled as a jury trial to start on Monday, October 9, 2012; however, on Wednesday, October 5, 2012, defense counsel filed a motion indicating that the defendant and the United States were waiving the jury, and on the morning of trial Magwood signed a jury waiver. Before accepting the waiver, the Court conducted a colloquy with Magwood to determine whether he had entered the waiver voluntarily and knowingly. During that colloquy Magwood admitted that he had been discussing the waiver with his counsel and was acting voluntarily:

THE COURT:... Before we get started, Mr. Magwood, I want you to go up to the lectern. Mr. Magwood, I understand that this morning you signed the waiver of trial by jury form. Is that correct?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am.
THE COURT: Had you discussed before today the possibility of having this case tried without a jury?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am.
THE COURT: All right. And I assume that you discussed this decision carefully with Mr. Simms?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. Has anybody put any force or pressure on you to waive your right to a trial by jury?
THE DEFENDANT: No, Your Honor.
THE COURT: And do you understand that with a jury trial, we would have 12 people ultimately chosen to hear your case, and in order for a jury to make a decision, it would - the jury would have to be unanimous? That means all 12 jurors have to agree with the decision, so if just one juror had a reasonable doubt, that jury would be what we call a hung jury, it could not result in any decision, and we would have to have a new trial. Do you understand that?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Was all of that basically explained to you by Mr. Simms?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: And is it your wish today to go forward with this case without a jury?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. Have you been promised anything or told that you would get a lighter sentence or more favorable treatment by the Court if you waived your right to trial by jury?
THE DEFENDANT: No, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. And, Mr. Simms, did you carefully go over this waiver with your client?
MR. SIMMS: Yes, I did, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Are you satisfied that Mr. Magwood is entering the waiver in a knowing ...

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