United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ELLO M. WOODWARD, Petitioner,
CHARLES A. DANIEL, Warden, Respondent.
ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS
William T. Lawrence, Judge
Ello Woodward was convicted by a jury in the United States
District Court for the Middle District of Florida of various
drug offenses. His conviction was affirmed on appeal and his
motion for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 was
denied. He now seeks relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
arguing that, in this course of his trial and appeal, his
rights were violated in a number of ways. The United States
argues that Woodward's petition must be dismissed
pursuant to the “gatekeeping” provision of 28
U.S.C. § 2244(a) and that Woodward has failed to
demonstrate that his is actually innocent of the crime for
which he was convicted.
Factual and Procedural Background 
claims for relief under § 2241 are based largely on the
events that occurred during a hearing near the start of
trial. He contends that his defense counsel, the prosecutor,
and the judge who presided over his trial all conspired to
violate his rights.
Woodward's Trial and Appeal
pre-trial hearing, Woodward complained that his appointed
counsel refused to file motion that Woodward wrote
challenging, among other things, the validity of affidavits
prepared by Tampa Police Department officers in connection
with his arrest. Crim. Dkt. 115; 197, p. 2-3, 5. As to one of
the affidavits, he alleged that it was unsigned and
fraudulent. Woodward believed that the challenges raised in
the motion warranted the suppression of evidence and
dismissal of the charges against him (the
“motion” or “Motion to Suppress or in the
Alternative Motion to Dismiss”). Dkt. 1-14, p. 8. With
Woodward in the courtroom, the judge conducted a sidebar
conference with appointed counsel and the prosecutor to
determine whether Woodward and his counsel had irreconcilable
differences. Appointed counsel advised the judge that he did
not believe there were irreconcilable differences, that he
had discussed the motion with Woodward, and they disagreed as
to the merit of the arguments raised in the motion. Crim.
Dkt. 197, p. 48.
this conference, appointed counsel stated his position as to
why he believed that the arguments made in the motion were
factually and legally insufficient, and why he could not, in
good faith, bring the arguments before the court. Crim. Dkt.
197, p. 50-55. Woodward took the opportunity to advise the
court of why he believed the arguments in the motion were
meritorious. Crim. Dkt. 197, p. 59-63.
second sidebar was held and appointed counsel was given the
opportunity to withdraw or proceed to trial with the motions
sealed and made part of the record for purposes of an appeal,
but not ruled upon by the court. Crim. Dkt. 197, p. 63-66.
Appointed counsel decided to continue to represent Woodward.
Crim. Dkt. 197, p. 65.
Woodward learned that this motion would not be ruled upon,
and that he would be allowed to raise the allegations in his
motion only in the context of an ineffective assistance of
counsel claim on appeal or in a § 2255 motion, he waived
his Sixth Amendment right to counsel and stated he wanted to
represent himself pro se. Crim. Dkt. 197, p. 67-72.
Appointed counsel then took the position of standby counsel.
Crim. Dkt. 197, p. 72.
trial, Woodward cross-examined a detective with the Tampa
Police Department regarding his perceived inconsistencies
between the affidavits. The detective explained why some
copies had no signature and the line inconsistencies. Crim.
Dkt. 200, p. 164, 166, 245-48, 256-60; 202, p. 111-14. The
trial court ordered certified copies be obtained;
nevertheless, Woodward persisted with his objection. Crim.
Dkt. 200, p. 230-34, 242-45, 258. Thereafter, the trial court
denied Woodward's Motion to Suppress and in the
Alternative a Motion to Dismiss the Indictment based on the
alleged inconsistencies in the affidavits. Crim. Dkt. 134, p.
3-4; 200, p. 7, 20-21, 26-28; 202, p. 19, 28-30.
Specifically, the trial court found that “if there was
any error related to the affidavits, that error merely
provides the basis for impeachment of government
witnesses” and that “any discrepancies arise from
the fact that the original affidavits were filed in state
court, with case numbers added, and copies were scanned into
the Tampa Police Department file without marking or
numbering.” Crim. Dkt. 134, p. 3-4.
jury convicted Woodward and he was sentenced to an aggregated
sentence of 156 months' imprisonment. Crim. Dkt. 166.
With new counsel, Woodward appealed his conviction arguing
only that the waiver of his right to counsel was not made
knowingly and voluntarily, and that substitute counsel should
have been appointed. United States v. Woodward, 419
Fed. App'x. 969, 970 (11th Cir. 2011). The Eleventh
Circuit rejected Woodward's arguments and affirmed his
conviction. Id. at 971.
Woodward's § 2255 Motion
February 2012, Woodward filed a motion to vacate his
conviction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In his motion,
Woodward claimed, among other things, that the trial court
erred by denying his Motion to Suppress or in the Alternative
his Motion to Dismiss, particularly as it relates to the law
enforcement affidavits supporting his arrest, and that
appellate counsel was ineffective for not raising this claim
on appeal. Civ. Dkt. 1.
district judge, the same judge who presided over
Woodward's trial, denied the post-conviction motion. The
district judge recognized that Woodward had raised the
arguments in the trial court and lost; and found that
Woodward's challenge to the affidavits had no merit and
that Woodward “had a full and fair opportunity to cast
doubt on the affidavit by cross-examining the witness.”
For these reasons, the court found that Woodward could show
no prejudice. Civ. Dkt. 30. To the extent Woodward
“attempt[ed] to insinuate that if counsel had filed his
motions, Woodward would not have been forced to represent
himself in order to obtain a ruling on his motions, ”
the district court found Woodward's characterization of
his decision to proceed pro se to be without merit.
Id. The district court concluded that the record
showed, and ...