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United States v. Matthews

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

August 9, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
EARNEST EARL MATTHEWS, Defendant/Petitioner.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING MOTION UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 2255 AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          HON. AVERN COHN, JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         This is a criminal case. Defendant/Petitioner Earnest Earl Matthews (Matthews) was convicted by a jury of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Matthews was sentenced to 180 months under the Armed Career Criminal Act for having three prior robbery convictions (armed robbery, carjacking, and unarmed robbery). The sentence was the mandatory minimum and below the guidelines range of 210-262 months.

         Before the Court is Matthews' motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in which he says his trial counsel was ineffective. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied for lack of merit.[1]

         II. Background

         A. Factual Background On Matthews' appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit set forth the relevant facts:

Around 9:45 p.m. on October 24, 2014, two Detroit police officers were driving their patrol car when they saw Matthews on the street. Believing that Matthews matched the description of the suspect in a robbery that had occurred in the area nine days before, the officers initially tried to speak to him through their car window. When one of the officers started to get out of the car, Matthews ran, and the officer chased after him. While running, Matthews removed a pistol from the front pocket of his hooded sweatshirt. The officer, who was a few feet behind Matthews at this point, yelled, “Drop it or I'll shoot.” Matthews ran into an alley, where he threw the pistol toward a fence. He then tripped over a hose and tumbled to the ground, where the officer put him under arrest. The other police officer, who had followed Matthews in the patrol car, immediately retrieved the abandoned pistol.

United States v. Matthews, No. 15-2298, at p. 1-2 (6th Cir. May 8, 2017) (unpublished).

         B. Relevant Procedural History

         Matthews was initially appointed a federal defender to represent him. A few months after the appointment, Matthews requested another attorney. The Court granted his request and appointed another attorney to represent him. The second attorney represented Matthews at trial and sentencing. On direct appeal, the Sixth Circuit granted the second attorney's motion to withdraw and the Sixth Circuit appointed a third attorney to handle Matthews direct appeal.

         On appeal, Matthews argued that the Court (1) erred in denying his motion to suppress the firearm and (2) erred in ruling at trial that evidence as to the description of the robbery suspect, and (3) that his prior conviction for unarmed robbery was a crime of violence. The Sixth Circuit rejected all of these arguments and affirmed Mathews' conviction and sentence. See Doc. 88, United States v. Matthews, No. 15-2298 (6th Cir. May 8, 2017) (unpublished). The Supreme Court denied certiorari. See Doc. 90.

         III. Legal Standards

         28 U.S.C. § 2255 provides:

A prisoner in custody under a sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence imposed was in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such a sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral ...

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