Edwards v. United States of America
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS ; adopting Report and Recommendations re 44 Report and Recommendation. Accordingly, the Court hereby rules as follows: (1) The R & R, (Docket No. 44), is ACCEPTED and APPROVED; and (2) Petitioner's claim for ineffective assistance of counsel is hereby DENIED for failing to sufficiently show that Petitioner was prejudiced by any attorney error. The Clerk of the Court shall enter a final judgment in accordance with Rule 72 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Signed by Chief Judge Kevin H. Sharp on 2/8/17. (DOCKET TEXT SUMMARY ONLY-ATTORNEYS MUST OPEN THE PDF AND READ THE ORDER.)(am)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
JOHN PATRICK EDWARDS,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Case No. 3:14-CV-01256
Pending before the Court is a Report and Recommendation (“R & R”) of the Magistrate
Judge, (Docket No. 44), recommending that Petitioner’s action be denied because Petitioner
cannot show that he was prejudiced by his attorney’s performance. Petitioner filed objections to
the R & R. (Docket No. 49). Respondent filed a Response to Petitioner’s Objections. (Docket
No. 53.) Having undertaken de novo review of the matter in accordance with Rule 72 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court finds that the R & R is correct and properly applies
the governing law.
In deciding to approve the R & R, the Court has considered the one objection raised by
Petitioner. The Petitioner’s sole objection is that the Magistrate Judge erred in regards to seven
The seven factual findings in question are whether: (1) Petitioner knew
members of the drug conspiracy under investigation were members of a Mexican cartel; (2)
Petitioner’s attorney understood what a “C” plea was; (3) Petitioner was impeached; (4)
Petitioner’s decision to enter the plea was voluntary; (5) Petitioner was advised of his right to
allocute; (6) Petitioner thought there was a plea agreement when he pleaded guilty; and (7)
Petitioner’s attorney made an apology to him about his performance.
The Court will address each of these disputed factual findings in turn, through a de novo
review of the record. The Court finds:
(1) Agent Brown’s testimony at Petitioner’s sentencing hearing makes it clear that
Petitioner had knowledge that the subjects of the investigation were affiliated with a Mexican
cartel. (Docket No. 30 at 5-6.)
(2) Lannom, Petitioner’s attorney, testified that he understood what a “C” plea was and
that he had discussed the offer with Petitioner at length. (Docket No. 31 at 242-246.)
(3) Petitioner was impeached and was not a credible witness.
This contention is
supported most notably by the instance in which Petitioner initially testified that his attorneys did
not tell him he could have addressed Judge Haynes at sentencing, but then subsequently admitted
he did discuss addressing the court with his attorneys. (Docket No. 44 at 661-662.)
(4) Petitioner voluntarily entered into an open plea.
The transcript of the meeting
between Petitioner and his attorneys makes it clear that Petitioner wanted to enter into an open
plea. (Docket No. 32 at 385-388.)
(5) Petitioner was made aware of his right to allocute. Judge Knowles advised Petitioner
of his right to address Judge Haynes at sentencing. (Docket No. 30 at 77-80.)
(6) Petitioner did not think there was a plea agreement when he pleaded guilty. Petitioner
discussed, at length, the distinction between entering an open plea and having a plea agreement.
(Docket No. 44 at 672-673.)
(7) Petitioner later admitted that Lannom did not apologize, and the admission is on the
record. (Docket No. 32 at 443-447.)
The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge. Petitioner’s objections on these factual
findings do not sufficiently show that the Petitioner was prejudiced. The Petitioner fails to show
that the outcome of his case would have been different had the Magistrate Judge found
differently in these seven instances.
Accordingly, the Court hereby rules as follows:
(1) The R & R, (Docket No. 44), is ACCEPTED and APPROVED; and
(2) Petitioner’s claim for ineffective assistance of counsel is hereby DENIED for failing
to sufficiently show that Petitioner was prejudiced by any attorney error.
The Clerk of the Court shall enter a final judgment in accordance with Rule 72 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure.
It is so ORDERED.
KEVIN H. SHARP
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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