HOLLAND v. USA
ORDER - Dakota Holland seeks relief from his conviction and sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 arguing ineffective assistance of counsel. Accordingly, Petitioner shall have through February 1, 2023, in which to formally request an evidentiary hearing and to set forth the evidence that will be presented at that hearing. The United States has through February 8, 2023, to respond in opposition to any motion for an evidentiary hearing (SEE ORDER FOR DETAILS). Signed by Judge James Patrick Hanlon on 1/17/2023. (DWH)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Dakota Holland seeks relief from his conviction and sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255
arguing ineffective assistance of counsel. The Court appointed counsel to represent Mr. Holland
and directed counsel to file an amended § 2255 motion. Dkt. 13. Counsel has done so, raising one
claim: that Mr. Holland's trial counsel provided ineffective assistance when he did not request a
competency hearing before Mr. Holland pleaded guilty. Dkt. 20 at 1.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees a criminal defendant the right to be represented by
effective counsel. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 686 (1984). A defendant claiming that
his defense counsel was inadequate must show both that counsel's performance was deficient, and
that but for the deficient performance, there is a reasonable probability that the outcome of the
proceeding would have been different. Id. at 687–88. "Defense counsel performs deficiently when
he fails to investigate possible defenses or make reasonable decisions that particular
investigations are unnecessary." Anderson v. United States, 865 F.3d 914, 921 (7th Cir. 2017)
(internal quotations and citations omitted). "When the defendant argues that counsel should have
pursued a fitness hearing, the question is whether there is a reasonable probability that the
defendant would have been found unfit had a hearing been held." Id. (internal quotations omitted).
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A district court should hold such an evidentiary hearing whenever the federal prisoner
alleges facts that, if proven, would entitle him to relief under § 2255. Id. at 919 (citing TorresChavez v. United States, 828 F.3d 582, 586 (7th Cir. 2016)); see also 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The
petitioner's burden for receiving a hearing is "relatively light." Torres-Chavez, 828 F.3d at 586.
The district court should deny an evidentiary hearing only when the motion and records
"conclusively show" that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b).
Review of the parties' briefing of this issue reveals that the Petitioner did not specifically
request an evidentiary hearing. Instead, Petitioner requests that "Respondent be required to appear
and answer the allegations of this Motion." Dkt. 20 at p. 5. Meanwhile, the United States argues
that an evidentiary hearing is unnecessary because it "would not rebut the real-time indications
that Holland understood his charges, consulted with his attorney, and understood the terms of his
plea agreement." Dkt. 23 at p. 13. The Seventh Circuit, however, has explained that in resolving a
claim of ineffective assistance of counsel based on the failure to pursue a fitness hearing,
"evidentiary hearings often are needed because ineffective assistance claims generally turn on facts
outside the trial record. For instance, the record rarely will reveal whether counsel’s actions were
or were not considered, tactical choices." Anderson, 865 F.3d at 921 (remanding case for
Accordingly, Petitioner shall have through February 1, 2023, in which to formally request
an evidentiary hearing and to set forth the evidence that will be presented at that hearing. For
example, notably absent in the record is any testimony from Petitioner's trial attorney,
Mr. Donahoe. See dkt. 23 at n.2 (explaining that attorney Donahoe declined the United States'
invitation to provide an affidavit concerning Mr. Holland's allegations). Any request for an
evidentiary hearing should also identify the factual disputes the Court will be asked to resolve. If
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no request for an evidentiary hearing is made, the only evidence that will be considered in resolving
the pending § 2255 motion will be the underlying criminal case record and the medical records
presented by Petitioner. See dkt. 20-1. The United States has through February 8, 2023, to
respond in opposition to any motion for an evidentiary hearing.
Pamela S. Domash
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE (Indianapolis)
Terry Wayne Tolliver
BRATTAIN MINNIX GARCIA
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