United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY GRANTING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO VACATE
CONVICTION AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Denny Ray
Anderson's (“Anderson”) Motion to Vacate, Set
Aside or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255
(“§ 2255 Motion”) (Dkt.
Anderson filed the present motion alleging that his guilty
plea was not “intelligent, knowing, or voluntary in
violation of” the Due Process Clause and that his trial
counsel rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance by
permitting him to plead guilty despite knowledge of his
mental health problems. Id. Following an evidentiary
hearing, and after considering the record in both this case
and the underlying criminal action, the Court makes findings
of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Rule 52(a) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court concludes that it had bona fide reasons to
doubt Anderson's competence during his criminal
proceedings and thus, should have ordered a competency
hearing. Anderson's Motion is granted,
and the Judgment entered in Case No. 1:11-cr-00201-TWP-TAB is
vacated. The United States shall have thirty
(30) days from the date of this Entry to notify the Court of
its intent to retry Anderson in the criminal case. If the
United States elects to retry Anderson, he may raise the
question of his competence to stand trial at that time and
request a hearing on the issue.
Court must grant a § 2255 motion when a petitioner's
“sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution
or laws of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
However, “[h]abeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. §
2255 is reserved for extraordinary situations.”
Prewitt v. United States, 83 F.3d 812, 816 (7th Cir.
1996). Relief under § 2255 is available only if an error
is “constitutional, jurisdictional, or is a fundamental
defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of
justice.” Barnickel v. United States, 113 F.3d
704, 705 (7th Cir. 1997) (quotations omitted).
FINDINGS OF FACT
October 19, 2011, Anderson was charged by Indictment with
being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18
U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e). Anderson was
initially represented by an Indiana Federal Community
Defender counsel and beginning February 24, 2012 he was
represented by CJA counsel Jessie A. Cook
was scheduled for trial by jury on August 27, 2012; however,
on August 16, 2012, he filed a Petition to Enter a Plea of
Guilty. (Crim. Dkt. 50). That same day the parties filed a fully
executed Plea Agreement (Crim. Dkt. 51). The Plea Agreement,
pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(1)(C), stated that
Anderson would plead guilty to the charge alleged in the
Indictment and be sentenced to the statutory minimum term of
180 months' imprisonment. The Plea Agreement further
provided that in exchange for concessions made by the United
States, Anderson expressly waived his right to a direct
appeal of the conviction and sentence imposed. He did not,
however, waive his right to collaterally attack the
conviction and sentence via 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The Court
vacated the trial and set the change of plea hearing for
August 27, 2012.
The Change of Plea Hearing
appeared before the Court for his change of plea hearing on
August 27, 2012. At the beginning of the hearing, Anderson
and his counsel were asked to come to the lectern for the
plea colloquy. Anderson was wearing shackles on his ankles
and his hands were cuffed. On the lectern is a microphone
which the speaker must utilize for the benefit of the court
reporter. When Anderson stepped away from the middle of the
lectern, the Court stated, “Come right here. Where are
you going, Mr. Anderson?” The court reporter then
recorded someone (not Anderson) as saying “ready to run
around for a while” at the same time as Anderson moved
closer to the microphone and center of the lectern. The Court
responded, “Okay. You have to stay in here.”
(Crim. Dkt. 75 at 4.) During the hearing, the following
colloquy took place:
COURT: Have you been treated recently for any mental illness
or addictions to alcohol or narcotic drugs of any kind?
DEFENDANT: I'm on psychotropic drugs right now.
COURT: Okay. What's your diagnosis?
DEFENDANT: Paranoid schizophrenia and a few other things. I
don't know exactly everything.
COURT: So, are you currently under the influence of any drugs
COURT: Okay. Does your medication affect your ability to
understand today's proceedings?
DEFENDANT: Not that I know of, Your Honor.
COURT: Okay. So, right now you're thinking clearly, and
you understand what's going on?
DEFENDANT: Right. I mean, as good as I can, yeah.
(Crim. Dkt. 75 at 5.)
during the hearing, the Court asked if Anderson understood
that his guilty plea would deprive him of valuable civil
COURT: Mr. Anderson, do you understand that the offense to
which you are pleading guilty, because it's a felony
offense, if the plea is accepted, you will be adjudged guilty
of that offense, and this adjudication may deprive you of
valuable civil rights, such as the right to vote, the right
to hold public office, the right to serve on a jury, and the
right to possess any kind of firearm. Do you understand?
COURT: Okay. Knowing - DEFENDANT: That's pretty good.
COURT: I'm sorry?
DEFENDANT: That's pretty good.
COURT: Knowing all of these factors, do you still wish to
enter into this plea of guilty?
Id. at 9-10. At the end of the hearing the Court
accepted Anderson's plea, adjudged him guilty, ordered a
presentence investigation report (the “PSR”) and
scheduled a sentencing hearing.
The Sentencing Hearing
final PSR was filed by the United States Probation officer on
October 29, 2012. Under the section titled Mental and
Emotional Health, the report stated:
The defendant has been diagnosed with antisocial personality
disorder and hyperkinetic syndrome through Wishard Hospital.
He states he has also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder,
schizophrenia, chronic depression and attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He has reportedly been
prescribed Ritalin for ADHD, thorazine for schizophrenia, and
Artane for side effects of his other medication. Medical
notes from IU Medical Center indicate when he was released
from prison in 2011, he was prescribed thorazine for anxiety
and Artane, although it does not state the reason for this
medication, and was referred to Midtown Mental Health.
Although requested, no records were received from Midtown
(Crim. Dkt. 56 at 17). On November 1, 2012, the sentencing
hearing was conducted. Anderson received a three-level
reduction for acceptance of responsibility under U.S.S.G.
§ 3E1.1. He was an Armed Career Criminal under 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(e). His total offense level was 31 and his
criminal history category was VI (based on both his criminal
history points and his status as an Armed Career Criminal).
His guideline range was 188 to 235 months' imprisonment.
The Court, in conformity with the Plea Agreement, sentenced
Anderson to a term of imprisonment of 180 months (the
statutory minimum) to be followed by five years of supervised
release. Anderson was also ...