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United States v. Hagler

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

December 31, 2014




Before the Court is Defendant, William Hagler’s (“Hagler” or “Defendant”) “Motion under 28 U.S.C. §2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody” filed on November 25, 2013. [DE 303]. Although he filed his Petition over a year ago, Hagler did not supply any factual basis or legal grounds for his petition. Accordingly, the Court extended Hagler’s time to file a supporting memorandum to his original petition. [DE 317]. After being granted a further extension of time, Hagler filed his “Memorandum of Law and Arguments in Support” on May 27, 2014. The Government responded on June 23, 2014 to which Hagler replied on August 8, 2014. The Court is further in receipt of numerous letters/supplemental filings from Hagler, all of which have been considered in the disposition of his present motion. See DE 307, 317, 330, 342. For the following reasons, Hagler’s Motion will be DENIED.


On June 29, 2010, a single count Criminal Complaint was filed against Hagler alleging a violation of 18 U.S.C. §2113(a) and (d) in connection with his participation in the attempted armed robbery as set forth in the Criminal Complaint.[1] Thereafter, on July 28, 2010, a single count Indictment was returned against Hagler and his brother, Shawn Hagler, charging them with a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2118 in connection with their participation in the attempted armed robbery of the National City Bank in Woodburn, Indiana on August 15, 2000.

Hagler filed a flurry of pretrial motions, some pro se and some through counsel, and wrote numerous letters to the Court. Throughout his pretrial filings, including his own letters, Hagler repeatedly took issue with the validity of the DNA evidence against him and declared that the evidence must be falsified because he “was not present” at the scene of the crime. See DE 290, fn. 2 (outlining and quoting docket entries reflecting Hagler’s consistent and repeated claims of innocence both before and after trial as well as statements by him that he was not present at the scene of the crime). He proceeded to trial[2] and, on December 16, 2010, was convicted on the sole count of the Indictment.[3] Thereafter, a presentence investigation report was prepared and a sentencing date was set in the case.

In the meantime, the Government’s case against Hagler’s brother, Shawn, was in full motion. On February 8, 2011, in preparation for Shawn’s trial, the Government filed a motion to withdraw two sweatshirts that had been admitted as exhibits at Hagler’s trial to conduct DNA testing on them for Shawn’s trial. [DE 106]. The Court granted the request and the exhibits were tested. Upon notification of the DNA results, Hagler filed a Motion for a New Trial pursuant to Fed.R.Crim.P. 33 wherein he asserted that the results contained in the Certificate of Analysis exculpated him since, according to Hagler, none of his DNA was found on the sweatshirts. On June 2, 2011, the undersigned denied the Motion for New Trial [DE 147] noting that contrary to Hagler’s assertions in his motion, the DNA Certificate of Analysis was inconclusive “as to whether DNA evidence found on the sweatshirt is attributable” to Hagler or Shawn. Thus, the Court concluded that “no evidence at all was yielded from this testing, ” and, even if the evidence did constitute new evidence, it would not have affected the jury’s verdict since “the inconclusive results of DNA evidence” did not “cast doubt on the fact that [Hagler’s] fingerprints and hair were found on other items connected to the bank robbery.” [DE 147].

On August 29, 2011, the Court sentenced Hagler to a term of 150 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release. He appealed. Hagler’s conviction and corresponding sentence were affirmed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in United States v. Hagler, 700 F.3d 1091 (7th Cir. 2012) [DE 236]. On appeal, Hagler challenged the timeliness of his prosecution, the sufficiency of the evidence against him and this court’s decision not to grant him a new trial on the basis of the additional DNA testing. The Seventh Circuit rejected Hagler’s timeliness arguments concluding that the statute of limitations had not expired at the time of Hagler’s indictment and the pre-indictment delay did not prejudice his case. With respect to the sufficiency of the evidence argument, Hagler’s claim on appeal was limited to whether the Government proved that the bank was federally protected at the time of the robbery. This claim, too, was rejected. Finally, the Seventh Circuit upheld this Court’s decision denying Hagler’s new trial motion writing:

Hagler's fingerprint was found outside the getaway car, and his DNA was found inside it. Both of these facts were powerful evidence against him. And, contrary to Hagler's suggestion, the introduction of further, inconclusive DNA testing would not have undermined this evidence...
Hagler's DNA and fingerprints were strong proof of his guilt. The mere fact that his DNA was not found in greater abundance does little to undermine this proof. Thus, we do not think that it would probably result in an acquittal if presented to a jury, and we certainly do not think that the district court abused its discretion in so holding.

Hagler, 700 F.3d at 1101.

Thereafter, Hagler’s counsel filed another Motion for New Trial in this Court asserting more newly discovered evidence and that a trial witness perjured herself.[4] The undersigned denied this motion. The present motion followed with Hagler arguing the following grounds to attack his conviction and sentence: (1) ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) due process violations; (3) statute of limitations violations; (4) insufficient evidence; (5) false evidence and perjured statements; (6) improper application of the sentencing guidelines; and (7) double counting with respect to his sentence.


Habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. section 2255 is reserved for “extraordinary situations.” Prewitt v. United States, 83 F.3d 812, 816 (7th Cir.1996). In order to proceed on a habeas corpus motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 2255, a federal prisoner must show that the district court sentenced him in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack. Id.

A section 2255 motion is neither a substitute for nor recapitulation of a direct appeal. Id.; Belford v. United States, 975 F.2d 310, 313 (7th Cir.1992), overruled on other grounds by Castellanos v. ...

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