United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION DENYING PETITIONER'S AMENDED MOTION TO
VACATE SENTENCE (Doc. # 76)
Victoria A. Roberts United States District Judge
Ibrahim Hussain, (“Hussain”), filed an amended
motion for a writ of habeas corpus (“Amended
Motion”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Hussain
pled guilty to extortion by interstate communication, 18
U.S.C. § 875(b), and possession of child pornography, 18
U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(5)(B). Hussain now claims that his
counsel was ineffective during the plea bargaining process.
Specifically, Hussain contends that his counsel “did
not explain the process of plea negotiation” to him and
he did not realize that a “plea offer” indicated
in an email from the Government would expire.
reasons that follow, the motion is DENIED.
December 2012 to April 2013, Hussain resided in various hotel
rooms near Detroit, Michigan. In December 2012, he sent text
messages to a female victim, demanding that she marry him or
he would kidnap, rape, and assault her. The text messages
were sent while Hussain was in Michigan, were transmitted
over Sprint/Nextel's communication system through a
service center in Kansas City, Missouri, and were received by
the victim in Michigan. The victim refused Hussain's
demands. With the thought of kidnapping her, Hussain
purchased items such as handcuffs, GPS tracking devices that
he placed on the victim's car, leg irons, a flashlight,
and a shotgun. Hussain was arrested in April 2013 before he
could carry out his plan.
Hussain's April 2013 arrest, images and videos of child
pornography were found on his personal computer in his hotel
room near Detroit, Michigan.
Government filed a two-count criminal complaint against
Hussain in May 2013.
plea negotiations, the Government sent Sanford Schulman,
counsel for Hussain, an email stating that if Hussain pled
guilty to the charged offenses, the Sentencing Guidelines
range would be 51-63 months with no mandatory minimum. The
email stated that Hussain would be required to register as a
sex offender, under the Sexual Offender Registration and
Notification Act. The email also indicated that if Hussain
did not accept this offer, the Government would charge him
under a different child pornography statute which carried a
mandatory minimum five years prison term. Mr. Schulman
relayed this information to Hussain in December 2013.
October 2014, Hussain entered into a written plea agreement
for the two charged offenses, but with a Sentencing
Guidelines range of 63 to 78 months. In June 2015, Hussain
filed a motion for a determination of ineffective assistance
of counsel in the plea bargaining process, claiming that the
December 2013 email was an offer, and that he was not told
there was a deadline to accept or reject the offer. During a
July 2015 hearing on the motion, the Government said that the
email was not an offer because material terms were not
addressed, and it did not bind the Government. The Court
concluded that the email was not a formal offer; it denied
Hussain's motion without prejudice. [Doc. 76, Ex. 1, Pg.
ID 681-682, 685-686].
December 2015, the Court sentenced Hussain to 72 months
imprisonment on both counts, to run concurrently.
Amended Motion - much like the original motion - Hussain
argues that the December 2013 email constitutes a plea offer.
He says Mr. Schulman did not explain the plea negotiation
process to him, and contends he did not realize the offer
contained in the December 2013 email would expire if he
failed to accept it or continue negotiations. Hussain says he
was prejudiced. He requests an evidentiary hearing so that
factual allegations may be established.
response, the Government argues that Hussain's counsel
was not ineffective because the Court determined that the
email did not constitute a plea offer, and that Hussain
suffered no prejudice. [Doc. 80, Pg. ID 707, 709-710].
Standard of Review