United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. CASPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Ronald Brown (“Brown” or
“Petitioner”) has filed a petition for writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (the
“Petition”), alleging several grounds for relief.
D. 194 as amended by D. 198. The government opposes the
Petition. D. 211. For the reasons discussed below, the Court
DENIES the Petition.
Standard of Review
incarcerated person may seek post-conviction relief under
§ 2255 if his sentence “(1) was imposed in
violation of the Constitution; (2) was imposed by a court
that lacked jurisdiction; (3) exceeded the statutory maximum;
or (4) was otherwise subject to collateral attack.”
David v. United States, 134 F.3d 470, 474 (1st Cir.
1998). It is Petitioner's burden to make out a claim for
such relief. Id.
Factual and Procedural Background
10, 2013, a jury returned a guilty verdict against Brown on
all counts against him in the second superseding indictment,
D. 102: Hobbs Act robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1951 (Count I); using and carrying a firearm during and in
relation to a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(c) (Count II); and being a felon in possession of
a firearm and ammunition in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(1) (Count III). D. 118. On December 13, 2013, the
Court sentenced Brown to 272 months in prison, a sentence
consisting of 188 months as to Counts I and III (as a result
of qualifying under the Armed Career Criminal Act,
“ACCA, ” under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), Brown was
subject to a minimum mandatory sentence of 180 months on
Count III) and 84 months as to Count II (Brown was subject to
a consecutive, minimum mandatory sentence of 84 months under
18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii)) to run consecutively to
the concurrent sentences on Counts I and II. D. 162. Brown
filed a timely notice of appeal and the First Circuit
affirmed the judgment on October 6, 2014. D. 163; D. 192.
Brown has now filed the Petition, D. 194 as amended by D.
198, enumerating six grounds for relief.
Grounds for Relief
asserts several grounds for relief claiming ineffective
assistance of counsel (Grounds One through Three) and
claiming that his conviction on the 924(c) charge, Count II,
and his ACCA sentence on the 922(g)(1) charge, Count III, was
improper (Grounds Five and Six). The Court will address each
of these grounds in turn.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims (Grounds One
demonstrate ineffective assistance of counsel, Petitioner
must show that: “(1) ‘counsel's
representation fell below an objective standard of
reasonableness' and (2) ‘there is a reasonable
probability that, but for counsel's errors, the result of
the proceeding would have been different.'”
United States v. Constant, 814 F.3d 570, 578 (1st
Cir. 2016) (quoting Strickland v. Washington, 466
U.S. 668, 688, 694 (1984)).
is viewed “as of the time of counsel's
conduct.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 690.
Judicial scrutiny of a counsel's representation and
performance must be “highly deferential” and the
Court should make “every effort . . . to eliminate the
distorting effects of hindsight.” Bell v.
Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 698 (2002) (internal quotation marks
omitted). Moreover, even deficient representation does not
violate the Sixth Amendment if there was no actual prejudice.
See United States v. McGill, 11 F.3d 223, 226 (1st
demonstrate prejudice, Petitioner must show “that there
is a reasonable probability” that, but for the
attorney's deficient performance, there would have been a
different outcome. Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694. A
“reasonable probability is one ‘sufficient to
undermine confidence in the outcome.'” Johnston
v. Mitchell, 871 F.3d 52, 64 (1st Cir. 2017), cert.