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Coleman v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

February 22, 2019




         This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct a Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 filed by Petitioner Michael Coleman (“Coleman”). For the reasons explained in this Order, the motion is denied and dismissed with prejudice. In addition, the Court finds that a certificate of appealability should not issue.

         I. Section 2255 Motion Standards

         A 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). “Relief under this statute is available only in extraordinary situations, such as an error of constitutional or jurisdictional magnitude or where a fundamental defect has occurred which results in a complete miscarriage of justice.” Blake v. United States, 723 F.3d 870, 878-79 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Prewitt v. United States, 83 F.3d 812, 816 (7th Cir. 1996); Barnickel v. United States, 113 F.3d 704, 705 (7th Cir. 1997)).

         II. Factual and Procedural Background

         On February 23, 2015, a police officer stopped Coleman for walking in the middle of a residential street in Indianapolis. See United States v. Coleman, 676 Fed. App'x. 590 (7th Cir. 2017). Coleman gave the officer a phony name, and after this lie was discovered, another officer searched him and found a handgun in his pocket. Id. Coleman was arrested under an Indiana statute criminalizing the refusal to provide identification, Ind. Code § 34-28-5-3.5.

         Coleman was charged in this Court in a three-count Superseding Indictment with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Count 1); one count of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Count 2); and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c) (Count 3). United States v. Coleman, No. 1:15-cr-00064-JMS-DML-1 (S.D. Ind.) (hereinafter “Crim. Dkt.”), Dkt. 21.

         On May 26, 2015, Coleman filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during his arrest. Crim. Dkt. 17. On September 24, 2015, the Court held an evidentiary hearing on Coleman's motion to suppress. Crim. Dkt. 42. The two officers present during the arrest and Coleman testified. Id. The Seventh Circuit summarized the testimony at the evidentiary hearing as follows:

At the evidentiary hearing on that motion, Coleman and the two police officers testified. The first officer saw the 41-year-old Coleman in a residential area walking in the street instead of using one of the sidewalks running along either side. The officer asked for identification, prompting Coleman to say that he possessed an Indiana identification card but did not have it with him. He gave a name, “DeWayne Coleman, ” and, in quick succession, three dates of birth: September 34, 1973; September 31, 1930; and, finally, September 30, 1973. The last of these was at least plausible, but the officer's mobile, online search of Bureau of Motor Vehicles records turned up neither a driver's license nor an identification card. After first confirming with Coleman the spelling of the name and date of birth he had given, the officer placed him in handcuffs. The second police officer then asked Coleman if he had a weapon, and when he said yes, the officer found and removed a handgun from his pants pocket. At this point only five to ten minutes had elapsed since the encounter began. For his part, Coleman testified that he had been walking in the street to avoid snow on the sidewalks. But the district court, relying on the first officer's testimony and street photos taken the next day, found that the sidewalks had been clear of snow. In his Rule 51(b) response, Coleman does not dispute this finding.

Coleman, 676 Fed. App'x. at 591-92.

         The Court took Coleman's motion under advisement and then on October 9, 2015, the Court denied Coleman's motion to suppress. Crim. Dkt. 43. Coleman filed a motion for reconsideration that was denied. Crim. Dkt. 46 and 51.

         On October 28, 2015, Coleman's attorney filed a motion to withdraw and new counsel was assigned to represent Coleman. Crim. Dkt. 44 and 49.

         On December 8, 2015, Coleman entered into a petition to enter a plea of guilty and plea agreement pursuant to Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(B). Crim. Dkt. 60 and 61. Coleman agreed to plead guilty to Count 1 of the Superseding Indictment and the government agreed to dismiss Counts 2 and 3. Crim. Dkt. 61. The parties agreed that the Court would use its discretion to fashion a sentence. Id. at 2-3. Coleman waived the right to appeal the conviction and sentence imposed except for the right to appeal the order denying his motion to suppress. Id. at 4. Coleman further waived the right to any collateral attacks on his conviction or sentence except for claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Id. The parties also agreed to the factual basis for the plea. Id. at 5.

         On December 9, 2015, Coleman appeared before the Court and pleaded guilty to Count 1 of the Indictment. Crim. Dkt. 66. The Court accepted his plea. On May 23, 2016, the Court sentenced Coleman to 100 months' imprisonment to be ...

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