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Lewis v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

January 16, 2018

JAJUAN MARTINEZ LEWIS, DEFENDANT-PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 2255 TO VACATE [#110] AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          HON. DENISE PAGE HOOD, JUDGE

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural Background

         On January 4, 2012, Defendant Jajuan Martinez Lewis (“Lewis”) was charged in an Indictment with one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)). The original indictment was dismissed without prejudice on February 5, 2013 (United States v. Jajuan Martinez Lewis, No. 12-20006 (Lewis I)). On February 14, 2013, Lewis was again indicted on the same charge based on the same underlying facts. (Doc # 9) On February 3, 2015, a jury found Lewis guilty. The Court sentenced Lewis to be imprisoned for a total term of 63 months, followed by supervised release for a term of two years. The Court entered a Judgment on November 6, 2015. (Doc # 83) Lewis filed an appeal challenging the sufficiency of the evidence used against him, and argued that the district court abused its discretion by allowing two probation officers to testify during trial. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found Lewis's challenges without merit, and affirmed the judgment. (Doc # 108)

         Defendant filed an initial Motion to Suppress in the first case, which was heard, and denied by the court in February 2013. Defendant, represented by new counsel, filed a new Motion to Suppress, which was also heard, and denied by this Court on January 9, 2017. (Doc # 57)

         The background of the investigation that led to the search warrant and the search itself is more fully discussed in this Court's previous opinion denying the first motion to suppress and is incorporated herein by reference to the extent necessary for background. Order Denying Motion to Suppress, United States v. Jajuan Martinez Lewis, No. 12-20006 (Feb. 5, 2013) (Doc # 29).

         On June 7, 2017, Lewis filed the instant pro se Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, arguing that his Appellate Counsel was ineffective for his failure to make the following arguments on appeal: (1) the search warrant was issued without probable cause; (2) the firearm should have been suppressed due to DTE Energy unlawfully inspecting the energy meter outside Lewis's home at the behest of the Detroit Police Department (“DPD”); (3) the firearm should have been suppressed due to the DPD officers entering Lewis's home before they had a search warrant; (4) the case should have been dismissed with prejudice for a speedy trial violation. (Doc # 110, Pg ID 8-9) Lewis also argues that his Trial Counsel was ineffective for the following reasons: (1) he failed to argue that the seizure of the firearm exceeded the scope of the warrant; (2) he did not object to the staleness of the warrant; (3) he did not argue that the warrant was based on false pretenses; and (4) he failed to cite the case law that would have supported Lewis's sentence of home confinement argument. (Doc # 110, Pg ID 14-23) The Government filed a Response on September 27, 2017. (Doc # 117) Lewis filed a Reply on October 25, 2017. (Doc # 121)

         For the reasons set forth below, Lewis's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is DENIED.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Section 2255 authorizes a federal prisoner to move the district court to vacate a sentence. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Motions brought under Section 2255 are subject to a one-year limitations period established by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, generally running from “the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(f)(1); Dunlap v. United States, 250 F.3d 1001, 1004-05 (6th Cir. 2001). As an initial matter, the Court notes that Lewis's Motion was timely filed.

         To prevail on a Section 2255 motion, the movant must show “(1) an error of constitutional magnitude; (2) a sentence imposed outside the statutory limits; or (3) an error of fact or law that was so fundamental as to render the entire proceeding invalid.” Weinberger v. United States, 268 F.3d 346, 351 (6th Cir. 2001).

         A. Ineffective Assistance of Appellate Counsel

         Lewis argues that his Appellate Counsel was ineffective because he failed to raise preserved meritorious claims that were clearly stronger than those raised on appeal. (Doc # 110, Pg ID 8-9) The Government responds that Lewis's argument fails because Lewis's Appellate Counsel made a reasonable decision to focus on the sufficiency of the evidence and other issues at trial. (Doc # 117, Pg ID 12)

         Under the Sixth Amendment, a defendant has a right to “have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” U.S. Const. Amend. VI. A defendant has a right to “reasonably effective assistance of counsel.” Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984). In Strickland, the Supreme Court articulated a two-prong test to show ineffective assistance of counsel: “First, the defendant must show that counsel's performance was deficient. This requires showing that counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the “counsel” guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment. Second, the defendant must show that the deficient performance prejudiced the defense.” Id. “There is a strong presumption that legal counsel is competent.” United States v. Osterbrock, 891 F.2d 1216, 1220 (6th Cir. 1989). In addition, a “reviewing court must give a highly deferential scrutiny to counsel's performance.” Ward v. United States, 995 F.2d 1317, 1321 (6th Cir. 1993). “The reasonableness of counsel's performance is to be evaluated from counsel's perspective at the time of the alleged error and in light of all the circumstances.” Kimmelman v. Morrison, 477 U.S. 365, 384 (1986). A defendant is generally precluded from arguing issues via a § 2255 motion that he failed to raise on direct appeal unless he can first demonstrate either cause, actual prejudice, or actual innocence. Bousley v. U.S., 523 U.S. 614, ...


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