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United States v. Barefoot

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

December 12, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
WINNIE JOANNE BAREFOOT Criminal No. MJG-10-0460

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: § 2255 MOTION

MARVIN J. GARBIS, District Judge.

The Court has before it the Defendant's Motion Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence [Document 71] and the materials submitted relating thereto. The Court finds that a hearing is necessary to resolve the motion.

I. BACKGROUND

On February 24, 2012, Defendant Winnie Joanne Barefoot ("the Defendant") was convicted on a plea of guilty to Bank Fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. On June 18, 2012, the Defendant was sentenced to 60 months of incarceration.

II. GROUNDS ASSERTED

The Defendant contends, among other things, that she was denied the effective assistance of counsel and that the undersigned Judge should have recused himself from presiding.

A. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

In order to prevail on a claim that her counsel's representation violated her Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel, the Defendant must show that (1) "counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, "[1] and (2) "there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different." Strickland v. Washington , 466 U.S. 668, 687-88, 694 (1984). "A reasonable probability is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome" of the proceedings. Id . at 694.

In this case, the Defendant essentially contends that she was deprived of her right to require to the Government to prove her guilt. She bases her ineffective assistance claim upon allegations that, if found to be correct, would establish that her counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. The Defendant asserts that she always wished to proceed to trial and that she pled guilty because of her counsel's alleged trickery and coercion.

For example, the Defendant alleges that:

• She "was tricked into signing a plea agreement [by her counsel]." [Document 71-1] at 4.
•"Defense counsel took advantage of [her] medical conditions, numerous surgeries, and prescribed medications, to coerce [her] into signing a plea agreement." Id.
•"[O]n August 02, 2012, [defense counsel] apologiz[ed] for screwing up' and that he should have never let you sign that plea deal' and I should have taken your medical conditions more seriously.'" Id.
•"Defense Counsel... provided deficient performance by forcing [her] to sign a plea deal that she did not ...

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