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United States v. Brown

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

October 11, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DEMARCUS MANDELL BROWN, Petitioner. Criminal Action

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Michael F. Urbanski United States District Judge

         Demarcus Mandell Brown, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, has filed a motion and amended motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The government has filed a motion to dismiss, and Brown has responded, making this matter ripe for consideration. After reviewing the record, the court concludes that the government's motion to dismiss must be granted and Brown's § 2255 motion must be dismissed.

         I.

         On September 19, 2013, a federal grand jury charged Brown in a two-count indictment with: (1) knowingly and forcibly assaulting, resisting, opposing, impeding and interfering with a deputy United States Marshal while the marshal was performing official duties, and in doing so made physical contact with and inflicted bodily injury upon the marshal, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a) and (b) ("Count One"); and (2) physically assaulting a second deputy United States Marshall, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a) ("Count Two"). These charges stemmed from an incident that happened in Roanoke City Jail on March 27, 2013, when Brown refused to leave his cell for a court hearing and had to be physically restrained and removed.

         On January 13, 2014, Brown proceeded to trial. Prior to the government's case-in-chief, the parties stipulated that "Demarcus Mandell Brown was in the lawful custody of the United States Marshals Service on March 27, 2013." Trial Tr. at 34, ECF No. 103. Following the government's evidence, the district court dismissed Count Two on the ground that it was multiplicitous. Trial Tr. at 13, ECF No. 104.

         At the close of the trial, the court provided the jury with a verdict form that provided:

         As to the charges set forth in Count One of the indictment, we the jury unanimously find beyond a reasonable doubt:

         A. That the defendant, DEMARCUS MANDELL BROWN, forcibly assaulted, resisted, opposed, impeded, intimidated, or interfered with a federal officer or employee; ___ Yes ___ No

         B. That the assault, resistance, opposition, impeding, intimidation, or interference occurred while the officer or employee was engaged in his official duties or on account of those duties; Yes No

         C. That such acts involved physical contact with the victim of an assault ___Yes ___ No

         D. That the defendant inflicted bodily injury while committing these acts; ___Yes ___ No Jury Verdict at 1, ECF No. 66. The court explained to the jury that "[i]f you find the government fails to prove each of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find the defendant not guilty of Count One." Trial Tr. at 149, ECF No. 104. The court further explained:

Now, if you find that the government has proved all the elements of Count One, except that the government has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant inflicted bodily injury, then you may find the defendant guilty of an assault that involves physical contact but does not involve bodily injury. This is called a lesser included offense.
If you find that the government has proved all the elements of Count One, except that the government has failed to prove either bodily injury or actual physical contact, then you may find the defendant guilty ...

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