United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER
F. Cox, United States District Judge.
Donald Steven Reynolds (“Reynolds”) was convicted
of child pornography offenses following a jury trial. His
conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal, as
was this Court's denial of Reynolds's post-appeal
motion seeking a new trial. The matter is currently before
the Court on Reynolds's pro se “Motion
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct
Sentence By A Person In Federal Custody” and related
motions. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies
that motion, and the related motions, and declines to issue a
certificate of appealability.
criminal action against Reynolds followed an undercover
investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations
On April 7, 2011, undercover Federal Bureau of Investigations
(FBI) Special Agent Ryan Blanton used a peer-to-peer
file-sharing program to download images containing child
pornography from a computer. The FBI traced the
computer's internet-protocol address to Donald
Reynolds's home in Canton, Michigan. On May 26, 2011, FBI
agents executed a search warrant on the home and seized the
desktop computer from which Blanton had downloaded the
child-pornography images. In addition to Donald Reynolds,
three other individuals regularly used that computer:
Reynolds's two adult children who lived with him-Arica
and Andrew Reynolds-and Arica's boyfriend, Michael Cook.
All four individuals denied using the computer to view,
download, or distribute child pornography. Reynolds admitted
that he owned the computer and that he had an account at
Match.com, an online dating service.
FBI computer forensic examiner Walker Sharp found on the
computer's hard drive over 8, 000 child-pornography
images that had been downloaded through a peer-to-peer
file-sharing program. Sharp identified the following periods
in May 2011 during which a user downloaded child pornography
onto the computer.
• May 6, 2011 between 5:08 PM and 6:07 PM
• May 12, 2011 between 5:55 PM and 10:56 PM
• May 13, 2011 between 7:01 PM and 7:46 PM
• May 18, 2011 at approximately 2:24 PM
• May 23, 2011 between 9:42 PM and 10:23 PM
• May 24, 2011 between 7:01 AM and 7:40 AM and at 5:05
• May 25, 2011 between 4:50 PM and 5:59 PM
The FBI analyzed cellphone records and concluded that, during
the relevant download periods, Andrew, Arica, and Cook each
had their cellphone activity that used cell towers that were
geographically inconsistent with their being located at
Reynolds's residence. In contrast, Reynolds made
cellphone calls that used cell towers that were consistent
with his being at his residence during the download periods.
In addition to the cellphone evidence, Andrew was at work
during four of the child- pornography download periods, and
Arica and Cook were not present at the home during the May 25
download period. There was also activity through
Reynolds's Match.com account on the computer during or
near several child-pornography downloads periods.
United States v. Reynolds, 626 Fed.Appx. 610, 612-13
(6th Cir. 2015).
government charged Reynolds with one count of receipt of
child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
2252(A)(a)(2); one count of distribution of child pornography
based on sharing files with Agent Blanton on April 7, 2011,
in violation of the same statute; and one count of possession
of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
2252(A)(a)(5)(B).” Id. at 613.
proceeded to a jury trial. At trial, Reynolds was represented
by his retained counsel, attorney John Freeman. The jury
ultimately convicted Reynolds on all three counts.
Court applied a sentence enhancement under the advisory
guidelines for possession of over 600 child-pornography
images and sentenced Reynolds to 144 months of imprisonment.
This Court also ordered Reynolds to pay a total of $26, 500
in restitution to two identified child-pornography victims.
filed a direct appeal, arguing that this Court erred in 1)
admitting expert testimony at trial based on historical
cell-site data; 2) permitting the government to call a
rebuttal witness; 3) excluding two alibi witnesses (James
Reynolds and Larry Bullock); 4) imposing a sentence
enhancement; and 5) calculating the amount in restitution.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
rejected all of those arguments and affirmed. United
States v. Reynolds, 626 Fed.Appx. 610, 612-13 (6th Cir.
2015). Reynolds filed a petition for a writ of certiorari
with the United States Supreme Court.
6, 2016, Reynolds filed a pro se Motion for New
Trial, based on newly discovered evidence. (ECF No. 178). He
also requested that this Court hold that motion in abeyance
while he continues to search for new evidence that could
support a motion for a new trial and filed a motion seeking
grand jury transcripts. This Court denied that motion, and
the related requests, in an Opinion and Order issued on
September 2, 2016. (ECF No. 183). After this Court denied an
untimely request to file a reply brief, Reynolds filed
several reply briefs in violation of the Court's order,
that were stricken by this Court.
appealed those rulings. The United States Court of Appeals
for the Sixth Circuit affirmed all of this Court's
rulings. United States v. Reynolds, Case No. 16-2466
(6th Cir. June 28, 2017) (ECF No. 196). Among other things,
the Sixth Circuit noted that this Court acted within its
discretion when it “denied Reynolds's untimely
motion to extend the time to file a reply brief and struck
the reply briefs that Reynolds filed in violation of that
order. See United States v. Galaviz, 645 F.3d 347,
363 (6th Cir. 2011).” Id. at 3.
October 3, 2017, the United States Supreme Court issued an
order denying Reynolds's petition for a writ of
certiorari as to his direct appeal (Case No. 14-1420). (ECF
September 28, 2018, Reynolds filed a form “Motion Under
28 U.S.C. § 2255 To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct
Sentence By A Person In Federal Custody” (ECF No. 199
at Page ID 3890-3900) wherein he asserted the following four
grounds for relief:
Ground One: “Mr. Reynolds' Right To Due
Process Was Violated Where The Prosecution Knowingly
Presented False Testimony.”
Ground Two: “Mr. Reynolds' Right To Due
Process Was Violated Where The Prosecutor's Comments On
Facts Not In Evidence Coupled With The Misrepresentation Of
The Evidence Deprived Him Of A Fair Trial.”
Ground Three: “Mr. Reynolds Was Denied A Fair
Trial, Where Counsel Rendered Ineffective Assistance Of
Counsel By Failing To Adequately Investigate The Law And
Facts Of The ...