United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 AND DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Motion for Relief Pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255 filed by Petitioner Bruce Jones
("Jones"). For the reasons discussed in this Entry,
the motion is denied and dismissed
with prejudice. In addition, the Court finds that a
certificate of appealability should not issue.
SECTION 2255 MOTION STANDARDS
motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is the presumptive
means by which a federal prisoner can challenge his
conviction or sentence. See Davis v. United States,
417 U.S. 333, 343 (1974). A court may grant relief from a
federal conviction or sentence pursuant to § 2255
"upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in
violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States,
or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such
sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum
authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral
attack." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). The scope of relief
available under § 2255 is narrow, limited to "an
error of law that is jurisdictional, constitutional, or
constitutes a fundamental defect which inherently results in
a complete miscarriage of justice." Borre v. United
States, 940 F.2d 215, 217 (7th Cir. 1991) (internal
15, 2012, Jones was charged in a 48-count Indictment with one
count of health care fraud, forty-six counts of felon in
possession of a firearm and one count of felon in possession
of ammunition. See USA v. Jones,
l:12-cr-00072-TWP-DML (hereinafter, "Crim. Dkt"),
Crim. Dkt. 1. Prior to Indictment, Jones was represented by
Linda Wagoner, who did not make a formal appearance in the
case. See, e.g., Crim. Dkt. 243 at 7 (referencing a
plea offer made to counsel Linda Wagoner). Thereafter, Jones
went through a number of different lawyers during his
proceedings, including (1) Larry Champion, Crim. Dkt. 10, (2)
Zaki M. Ali, Crim. Dkt. 15, (3) John D. Manley
("Manley"), Crim. Dkt. 35, (4) Charles David
Pumphrey ("Pumphrey"), Crim. Dkt. 58, and (5)
Richard Mark Inman ("Inman"), Crim. Dkt. 207.
4, 2013, the charges against Jones were consolidated and a
federal grand jury returned a four-count Second Superseding
Indictment. Crim. Dkt. 49. Count 1 charged Jones with health
care fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1347. Counts 2-4
each charged Jones with being a felon in possession of a
firearm or ammunition in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(1). Jones was prohibited from possessing firearms
based on a prior felony conviction on March 12, 1985 for
dealing a Schedule IV controlled substance (lorazepam and the
sedative ethchlorvynol) to another person. Crim. Dkt. 175 at
13, 2013, the Court granted the Government's Motion to
Sever Count 1 from Counts 2-4 (Crim. Dkt. 77) and Jones'
Motion to Sever Counts and Request for Separate Trials (Crim.
Dkt. 80). In particular, the Court severed Count 1
("health care fraud") from Counts 2-4 ("felon
in possession of firearms") and ordered that the firearm
charges be tried separately. Crim. Dkt. 94.
Trial 1: Felon in Possession of Firearm
Government elected to first proceed with trial on the firearm
charges. Jones was represented by attorneys Pumphrey and
Manley. On July 5, 2013, the Court denied Jones' seventh
motion for continuance of the trial and ordered that the jury
trial would proceed as scheduled on July 8, 2013. Crim. Dkt.
130. On the morning of trial, Jones failed to appear because
he had been hospitalized that morning following a
self-overdose of prescription medications. Crim. Dkt. 135;
Crim. Dkt. 229 (July 8, 2013 status hearing). Based on his
failure to appear, the Government moved for detention under
18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(2) on the grounds that Jones was a
risk of flight, posed a risk of obstructing justice, posed a
risk of harm to any other member of the community (himself),
and based upon his actions there were no conditions or
combinations of conditions that could have reasonably assured
his attendance at trial. Crim. Dkt. 137. The Court granted
was taken into custody and appeared in court the next day,
July 9, 2013. The Court granted Jones' request to
continue the trial and sua sponte ordered a new
competency evaluationbased on Jones' irrational behavior.
Crim. Dkt. 138. The Court explained that although "Mr.
Jones may be manipulative; and this may have been his whole
plan to get his eighth continuance," it felt obliged to
take that step. Crim. Dkt. 230 at 8, 14 (July 8, 2013 status
hearing). Judith Campbell, Ph.D. ("Dr. Campbell"),
a forensic psychologist, examined and evaluated Jones. On
October 15, 2013. a competency hearing was held. Dr. Campbell
reported that Jones "exhibits a pervasive pattern of
grandiosity and inflated self-importance, a belief that he is
unique and special, and a sense of entitlement." Crim.
Dkt. 243 at 4-5. Dr. Campbell offered a diagnosis of
Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood and Personality
Disorder Not Otherwise Specified with Narcissistic Features
(Crim. Dkt. 148 at 7-8). The Court found by a preponderance
of the evidence that Jones had the present mental competency
to proceed with trial. Crim. Dkt. 243 at 4- 5. The Court
expressed "doubts [during the competency hearing] that
the suicide attempt was accidental. I think it was an
intentional attempt... to be manipulative, to obstruct
justice." Id. at 34-35. In support of that
conclusion, the Court noted that Jones was a licensed
substance abuse counselor "in the business of
recommending dosage for the exact types of medications that
he almost overdosed on." Id. at 35.
four-day jury trial on the firearm charges was held from
October 21 -24, 2013. After less than an hour of
deliberations, the jury found Jones guilty of the three
firearm charges. Crim. Dkt. 222 at 100. On March 25, 2014,
the Court sentenced Jones to three concurrent 100-month terms
of imprisonment. Crim. Dkt. 224 at 76. A two-level increase
for obstruction of justice was added because Jones had failed
to appear for trial on July 8, 2013, by overdosing on a
cocktail of prescription drugs that he was familiar with, and
for instructing his neighbor to remove numerous firearms from
his cabin in Montana in an effort to hide them from federal
authorities. Id. at 15- 18. Relevantly, in
pronouncing the sentence, the Court reiterated the following:
Mr. Jones is well educated and a very intelligent man. He has
numerous degrees, including a certification as an addiction
specialist, which leads this Court to believe, despite what
Mr. Jones says, that he did intentionally take an overdose of
prescription medications the morning of trial to delay going
to trial after the Court denied his numerous requests for a
He has a degree in criminal justice and criminology that were
earned after he was released from prison on the first case.
Mr. Jones is well aware that he was not allowed to possess
these firearms or ammunition. And for many, many years, he
was deceitful and conniving and tried to find ways around the
law. He alleges that he had transferred all of these weapons
to his wife, but she was not living at the home at the time
of this search, nor had she ever been to the Montana
Mr. Jones used his patients and clients to add to his gun
collection. 47 firearms were seized from his residence and
properties, 14, 000 rounds of ammunition. And it is just
totally impossible, the sheer volume of firearms and
ammunition, to not know of their existence.
Mr. Jones does have a personality disorder with narcissistic
features. Mr. Jones exhibits behavior, and I believe he is
manipulative, he believes he's above the law. He's
very defiant, very obstinate. And I think his personality is
such that if he wants to possess firearms again once he's
released from prison on this case, he will, regardless of
what this Court orders or what the laws in this country tell
Mr. Jones did not - does not feel that his actions were
criminal, and he maintains his innocence, which is his
perfect right to do so, but the evidence of his guilt and the
evidence that this jury heard was overwhelming.
Given Mr. Jones' blatant disregard for the laws and his
attempts to obstruct justice, a sentence of 100 months is
Id. at 80-83. Following advisement of his appellate
rights, Jones stated that he wished to appeal. On the same
day of sentencing, the Clerk filed a Notice of Appeal on
Jones' behalf as to the judgment related to his firearm
charges. Crim. Dkt. 189. Jones' appeal on the firearm
charges was ultimately dismissed for lack of appellate
jurisdiction shortly before sentencing on his health care
fraud charges. Crim. Dkt. 319.
attorneys in the firearm trial, Pumphrey and Manley, withdrew
as counsel after sentencing on the firearm charges was
completed. Crim. Dkt. 205.
Trial 2: Health Care Fraud Trial
continued against Jones in his health care fraud trial. CJA
Counsel Inman was appointed to represent Jones. Crim. Dkt.
207, 208. However, shortly before trial, Jones expressed
dissatisfaction with his counsel. Crim. Dkt. 269; Crim. Dkt.
270. Jones wrote a letter to the Court requesting that a new
attorney be appointed because his attorney wanted him to
accept the plea offer and did not want him to go to trial.
Crirn. Dkt. 269; Crirn. Dkt. 343. On October 15, 2014, an
ex parte hearing on Jones' request for new
counsel was held before Magistrate Judge Tim Baker. Jones
asserted that his appointed counsel, Mark Inman, failed to
communicate with him, refused to call witnesses, and refused
to present evidence. See Crirn. Dkt. 343 at 8-10.
Inman explained that it was in Jones' best interest to
accept the plea agreement the Government had offered because
it was "a very good offer." Id. at 7,
18-19. Inman additionally defended his actions because
"the witnesses [Jones] wants to call are not going to
help him," so it "would just be absolutely foolish
for him to go to trial." Id. at 7. Inman also
compared this to Jones' first trial, where both Jones and
his wife testified, but the jury still found him guilty in
less than an hour. Id. at 18-19. Inman stated that
Jones had already experienced what it is like to
"present the defense that he thinks is going to work and
ha[d] it slammed down his throat," and he believed this
would be the same scenario. Id. Inman also asserted
that he had read through "every piece of paper that the
government has now," had reviewed everything necessary
to understand the case, and had read and followed up on every
letter Jones had sent him. Id. at 16, 18. Finally,
he asserted that if he called the expert witness Jones wanted
him to call, that would be "one of the biggest cases of
malpractice ever" and that the evidence Jones believed
would help him would "just come and backfire on him
extraordinarily badly." Id. at 16-17'.
considering Jones' request for a new counsel, Magistrate
Judge Baker stated that "many of these things [that
Jones wanted Inman to do] may not bear any fruit as it
relates to the defense of your case," and that he was
left with "the impression that [Jones] want[ed] to go
down a lot of roads that skilled trial counsel would think
would be unnecessary." Id. at 9-10, 21-22.
Magistrate Judge Baker ultimately denied Jones' request,
opining that Inman was "one of the most skilled
lawyers" on the CJA panel and because Inman indicated he
would still be able to represent Jones despite the
disagreement. Id. at 21.
October 20, 2014, an accept/reject plea hearing and hearing
on pending motions in limine was held. At the ex
parte portion of the hearing, Jones again requested a
new attorney. Crim. Dkt. 347 at 7-11. Inman responded that he
was "prepared to go to trial, [but Jones] doesn't
have a viable defense . . . [And] I can't create fiction
out of the air." Id. at 13. Although Jones had
some witnesses he wanted to call, Inman emphasized that
"[t]hey would hurt him," and that Inman had
discussed this with Jones approximately five times in the
previous month. Id. Jones asserted that Inman never
met with him to discuss his defense, but Inman countered that
that was not true, explaining, "I mean, that's just
it. I have to listen to this every time I go see him.
He's incapable of telling the truth and talking about
things. So it doesn't do any - it's
counterproductive." Id. at 13-14. In response,
Jones asserted, "it's clear and evident that
he's not going to represent me to the best of his
ability. He's called me a liar in open court. Please,
Your Honor, appoint another attorney to represent me."
Id. at 14.
response, the Court explained "I don't know of
another attorney that can represent you, Mr. Jones, because
you're going to have the same problem. You know, we had
these same issues in your first trial. You had how many
lawyers? About five?" and "you just have lots of
problems with lawyers, and we just can't keep giving you
lawyer after lawyer after lawyer. You've got to try to
work with the lawyer that you have." Id. at
14-15. The Court denied Jones' request for a new attorney
and confirmed that Inman could proceed to trial, although
Inman expressed that he was "just tired of being berated
by him." Id. at 16. Inman reiterated that he
believed the Government's plea offer to be a
midst of his health care fraud trial, Jones again requested a
new attorney. During the Government's case-in-chief,
Jones objected to Inman's failure to introduce evidence
when cross-examining the witnesses. See Crim. Dkt.
337 at 231-35. The exchange proceeded as follows:
MR. INMAN: Judge, I can't keep doing this every 90
minutes with him, all right?
THE COURT: Well - MR. INMAN: All right. I mean, the fact of
the matter is, the documents that these people signed, they
didn't know how he had billed, all right? And once they
found out that he fraudulently billed sessions that they
weren't at, for instance, as you just heard, and I told
him when these families would testify, that it was going to
be a slam dunk for the government. You heard Jeffrey Adams
testify that there were 29 times he was at work - THE
DEFENDANT: But that's because - MR. INMAN: - when he
THE DEFENDANT: All right. That's because - MR. INMAN:
It's because he made - THE COURT: Shh. Let your lawyer
MR. INMAN: It's because he made it up, and he can't
take the stand and say that he didn't, all right? And
that's my - I just have to approach it this way. All of
the records they're using are his. Those are his bills. I
have- THE DEFENDANT: I did not make it up, Your Honor.
MR. INMAN: And I believe that most of what he has is either
doctored or misleading or false.
THE DEFENDANT: Your Honor, they are not doctored or
misleading or false. In fact, yesterday one of the witnesses
even verified that he signed it. And today, you can ask - I
mean, you can ask the witness if they signed it. And they did
MR. INMAN: It's misleading.
THE COURT: Have you discussed this with your client?
MR. INMAN: Yes, Judge. I've told him that I'm not
introducing this stuff.
THE DEFENDANT: This does what, Your Honor? I haven't seen
THE COURT: The rules - his Rules of Professional
MR. INMAN: I can't keep defending myself, all right? I
can't keep doing it.
THE COURT: I understand, Mr. Inman, but -- MR. INMAN:
We're doing this every 75 minutes now, and I can't
keep doing it.
THE COURT: You've got to -- MR. INMAN: If he wants to
represent himself, then let him do it right now.
THE COURT: Well, I don't think he wants to represent
himself. Do you want to represent yourself?
THE DEFENDANT: I don't have the knowledge to do that, but
I want my attorney to represent me and call my witnesses and
produce my evidence. I mean, how can I - how can I possibly -
MR. INMAN: Which we've been through, which he doesn't
have. I told him that this case was a slam dunk case once the
families started testifying. That's what he's seeing,
and he's getting nervous and he's reacting.
THE DEFENDANT: No, Your Honor, I'm not. I've been
saying this all along. And you can see from his attitude,
what he just said now, he doesn't want to defend it, he
hasn't wanted to defend it, and he's ...