USA v. Aaron Broussard
UNPUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [14-30876 Affirmed ] Judge: JES , Judge: ECP , Judge: PRO Mandate pull date is 04/27/2015 [14-30876]
Date Filed: 03/04/2015
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
United States Court of Appeals
March 4, 2015
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Lyle W. Cayce
AARON F. BROUSSARD,
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Louisiana
USDC No. 2:14-CV-432
Before SMITH, PRADO, and OWEN, Circuit Judges.
Aaron Broussard appeals the denial of his motion for collateral relief
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The district court issued a certificate of appealability
on one issue—the only one Broussard was permitted to bring under his plea
agreement—ineffective assistance of counsel affecting the validity of his guilty
Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not
be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH
CIR. R. 47.5.4.
Date Filed: 03/04/2015
plea. He contends that prosecutorial misconduct interfered with his counsel’s
ability to give competent advice and rendered his lawyer constructively ineffective, such that prejudice should be presumed under United States v. Cronic,
466 U.S. 648 (1984). 1
Broussard fails to articulate a claim under the narrow category of cases
involving “affirmative government interference in the representation process.”
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 682 (1984). That category encompasses only those government actions that impose affirmative bars or obstacles on
counsel’s ability effectively to conduct a defense, such as restricting a lawyer
from conferring with his client overnight during trial or limiting how counsel
may examine the defendant at trial. See id. at 686 (citing cases). “We read
these cases as pointing to a constructive denial of counsel only where a government rule affirmatively forces counsel to make a choice he or she might not
otherwise make in the context of a particular case.” May v. Collins, 948 F.2d
162, 167 (5th Cir. 1991).
Nothing alleged here rises to the degree of interference that Cronic
requires. Having considered the briefs, the facts, and applicable law, and having heard the arguments of counsel, and assuming, without deciding, that the
issues urged on appeal were properly preserved, we find no reversible error.
The order denying relief is AFFIRMED.
The district court analyzed Broussard’s claim under the Washington standard
because that is how Broussard presented it in his initial memorandum in support of the
§ 2255 motion. He raised a Cronic claim for the first time only in response to the government’s opposition. On appeal, he now asserts that the claim was under Cronic all along and
relies solely on that theory. We need not consider whether Broussard abandoned this claim
by inadequately presenting it to the district court because we can, and do, straightforwardly
resolve the merits. See United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1109 (5th Cir. 1998).
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