Argued May 20, 2015.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 13 C 1997 -- Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, Judge.
For TROY MARTIN, Petitioner - Appellant: Robert J. Palmer, Attorney, MAY, OBERFELL & LORBER, Mishawaka, IN.
For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent - Appellee: Stuart D. Fullerton, Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Chicago, IL.
Before BAUER, FLAUM, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.
Bauer, Circuit Judge.
Troy Martin was sentenced to life imprisonment after a jury found him guilty of a large-scale drug distribution conspiracy. He appealed his conviction and we affirmed, but remanded for the limited purpose of considering, in light of Kimbrough v. United States, 552 U.S. 85, 128 S.Ct. 558, 169 L.Ed.2d 481 (2007), whether the district court would be inclined to impose a lesser sentence. United States v. Martin, 618 F.3d 705 (7th Cir. 2010). The district court declined to alter Martin's sentence on remand, and we subsequently affirmed. Martin then filed a petition for collateral relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, contending that his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective with respect to the plea bargaining process. The district court denied his petition without holding an evidentiary hearing, but granted a certificate of appealability on the question of whether Martin's conclusory assertion that he would have accepted a plea agreement, standing alone, is sufficient to trigger the need for such a hearing. Given the record in this case, we hold that the district court did not need to conduct an evidentiary hearing. Accordingly, we affirm.
The facts giving rise to this petition show that Martin founded a street gang known as the " Mafia Insane Vice Lords" or " Mafia Insanes," while serving a twenty-year stint behind bars in state prison
for murder. After he was released on parole in 1998, Martin returned to the streets. Known as " King Troy" to his subordinates within the Mafia Insanes, Martin coordinated and directed a sprawling narcotics distribution network on the west side of Chicago, Illinois. Eventually, the government began using the procedures described in Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, see 18 U.S.C. § § 2510-22, to intercept wire communications of Mafia Insanes members believed to be involved in the drug trafficking network. Martin's phone was targeted from February 2003 to September 2003.
On September 8, 2004, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Martin, along with other high-ranking Mafia Insanes members, with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. The indictment also charged Martin with eighteen counts of using a telephone to facilitate the narcotics conspiracy in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b). Martin proceeded to trial on the charges.
At trial, 160 incriminating recordings of calls from Martin's wiretapped phone, and transcripts of these calls, were admitted into evidence. Martin's defense at trial was that, although he may have been the leader of the Mafia Insanes, he was not the leader of a narcotics conspiracy, he had forbidden gang members from trafficking drugs, and that the government's evidence to the contrary was too unreliable to support a ...