US v. Irvine King


UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 1:12-cr-00180-CMH-1, 1:12-cr-00180-CMH-2, 1:15-cv-00811-CMH, 1:15-cv-00812-CMH. Copies to all parties and the district court/agency [1000023921]. [16-6382]

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Appeal: 16-6382 Doc: 21 Filed: 02/15/2017 Pg: 1 of 5 UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 16-6382 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. IRVINE JOHNSTON RASHIDATU KING, KING, a/k/a Irvine Johnson King; AISHA Defendants - Appellants. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. Claude M. Hilton, Senior District Judge. (1:12-cr-00180-CMH-1; 1:12-cr-00180-CMH-2; 1:15-cv-00811-CMH; 1:15-cv-00812-CMH) Submitted: January 31, 2017 Before DUNCAN Circuit Judge. and FLOYD, Decided: Circuit Judges, February 15, 2017 and DAVIS, Senior Vacated in part and remanded by unpublished per curiam opinion. John Patrick Elwood, Lindsey Robinson Vaala, VINSON & ELKINS, LLP, Washington, D.C., Conor Paul McEvily, VINSON & ELKINS, LLP, Houston, Texas, for Appellants. Kimberly G. Ang, Christopher John Catizone, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Rachel Gabrielle Hertz, Lauren Elyse Marziani, Special Assistant United States Attorneys, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. Appeal: 16-6382 Doc: 21 Filed: 02/15/2017 Pg: 2 of 5 PER CURIAM: Irvine Johnston King and Aisha Rashidatu King appeal the district court’s orders denying relief on their 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (2012) motions. We previously granted a partial certificate of appealability and ordered further briefing on a single issue: whether the district court abused its discretion in denying, absent an counsel evidentiary rendered negotiations. hearing, the ineffective Having reviewed Kings’ claim assistance the record that their during and the plea parties’ submissions, we vacate in part and remand for an evidentiary hearing. “We review de novo a district court’s legal conclusions in denying a § 2255 motion.” 617 (4th Cir. 2016). United States v. Ragin, 820 F.3d 609, We review for abuse of discretion a district court’s decision not to hold an evidentiary hearing in a postconviction proceeding. 196, 204 (4th Cir. 2015). See Gordon v. Braxton, 780 F.3d “When the district court denies § 2255 relief without an evidentiary hearing, the nature of the court’s ruling is akin to a ruling on a motion for summary judgment,” and the facts must be favorable to the § 2255 movant.” viewed “in the light most United States v. Poindexter, 492 F.3d 263, 267 (4th Cir. 2007). The district court must hold an evidentiary hearing on a § 2255 motion “[u]nless the motion and the files and records of 2 Appeal: 16-6382 Doc: 21 Filed: 02/15/2017 Pg: 3 of 5 the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b); see United States v. Thomas, 627 F.3d 534, 538 (4th Cir. 2010). hold an evidentiary hearing The determination of whether to ordinarily discretion of the district court. F.2d 526, 530 (4th Cir. 1970). is left to the sound Raines v. United States, 423 However, “if the parties produce evidence disputing material facts with respect to non-frivolous habeas allegations, a court must hold an evidentiary hearing to resolve those disputes.” United States v. White, 366 F.3d 291, 297 (4th Cir. 2004); see United States v. Witherspoon, 231 F.3d 923, 926-27 (4th Cir. 2000); United States v. Magini, 973 F.2d 261, 264 (4th Cir. 1992). Here, declarations the Kings’ materially affidavits conflict and with their regard attorneys’ to numerous matters, including what advice counsel provided regarding the strength of the Government’s case, the extent to which the Kings were aware of the sentence they likely would face if they went to trial, the extent to which counsel examined the evidence and reviewed that evidence with the Kings, and when and how counsel communicated plea offers to the Kings. The supporting documents provided by the Government do not fully resolve these material disputes. Although “there is no prohibition against a court making credibility determinations based 3 on competing affidavits in Appeal: 16-6382 Doc: 21 Filed: 02/15/2017 Pg: 4 of 5 certain circumstances,” Strong v. Johnson, 495 F.3d 134, 139 (4th Cir. 2007), our review of the record leads us to reject the notion that an evidentiary hearing would “add little or nothing to the proceedings,” United States v. Barsanti, 943 F.2d 428, 440 (4th Cir. 1991). are more detailed Importantly, while counsel’s statements and more fully supported by documentary evidence, we cannot conclude that the Kings’ contrary affidavits are so conclusory or so implausible as to warrant their outright rejection, or to otherwise dispel the material factual disputes at issue in their case. upon credibility Because these factual disputes turn determinations and “relate primarily to purported occurrences outside the courtroom and upon which the record could, therefore, cast no real light,” we conclude this action falls within the class of cases in which “an evidentiary hearing is especially warranted.” See White, 366 F.3d at 302 (alteration, citations, and internal quotation marks omitted). We therefore conclude that the district court abused its discretion in prematurely rejecting the Kings’ claim absent an evidentiary hearing. As a final matter, the Kings request that the reassigned to a different district judge upon remand. case be We deny this request, as we conclude that reassignment is not necessary to preserve the appearance of justice and would entail a waste of judicial resources disproportionate to any conceivable gains. 4 Appeal: 16-6382 Doc: 21 Filed: 02/15/2017 Pg: 5 of 5 See United States v. North Carolina, 180 F.3d 574, 583 (4th Cir. 1999); United States v. Guglielmi, 929 F.2d 1001, 1007 (4th Cir. 1991). Accordingly, we vacate in part the district court’s orders dismissing the Kings’ § 2255 motions. We remand with instructions to grant the Kings an evidentiary hearing on their claim that counsel was ineffective in failing to sufficiently investigate and render prompt and adequate advice during plea negotiations. In so doing, we offer no view as to the merits of the Kings’ claim, leaving that determination to the district court in the first instance. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process. VACATED IN PART AND REMANDED 5

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