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United States v. Franklin

United States District Court, D. Maryland

January 6, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JOHN I. FRANKLIN, JR., ET AL.

          SECOND MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: § 2255 MOTIONS

          Marvin J. Garbis United States District Judge.

         The Court has before it Petitioner's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct a Sentence By a Person in Federal Custody [ECF No. 268], Petitioner's Supplemental Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct a Sentence By a Person In Federal Custody [ECF No. 285], and the materials submitted relating thereto.

         The Court has held a hearing including the taking of evidence and had the benefit of the arguments of counsel. The Court has made factual findings herein based on its evaluation of the evidence and the reasonable inferences drawn therefrom.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 10, 2012, Defendant John Franklin (“Franklin”) was convicted by a jury on all six counts of the Indictment charging him in regard to two carjackings perpetrated on August 14, 2010. The charges are:

1. Conspiracy to commit carjacking (18 U.S.C. § 371).
2. [First] Carjacking (18 U.S.C. § 2119(1)).
3. Firearm possession and brandishing in furtherance of a crime of violence (18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii)).
4. [Second] Carjacking (18 U.S.C. § 2119(1)).
5. Firearm possession and brandishing in furtherance of a crime of violence (18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii)).
6. Firearm possession by a felon (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)).

         Superseding Indictment [ECF No. 115].

         On April 13, 2013, Franklin was sentenced to a total of 414 months of incarceration, consisting of:

• Counts 1, 2, 4, and 6 - 30 months each, concurrent (total of 30 months).
• Count 3 - 84 months consecutive (mandatory minimum).
• Count 5 - 300 months consecutive (mandatory minimum).

         Judgment [ECF No. 173].

         On November 6, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the conviction and sentence. United States v. Franklin, 545 F. App'x 243 (4th Cir. 2013).

         By the instant Motions, timely filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, Petitioner seeks to have his conviction and sentence vacated.

         By the [First] Memorandum and Order Re: § 2255 Motions [ECF No. 318], the Court denied most of Petitioner's claims but left pending for further proceedings his claims that:

1. He was denied the effective assistance of trial counsel in regard to his rejection of plea agreement offers.
2. He is entitled to relief by virtue of Rosemond v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 134 S.Ct. 1240 (2014).
3. He is entitled to relief by virtue of Johnson v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

         It is established that a defendant is entitled to the effective assistance of counsel in regard to the acceptance or rejection of plea agreements. Lafler v. Cooper, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1376 (2012).

         In order to prevail on a claim that counsel's representation violated his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel, Petitioner must show (1) “that counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, ”[1] and (2) “that 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.

         The Court has conducted an evidentiary hearing regarding Petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel contentions.

         There were plea agreement negotiations prior to trial in the course of which the Government offered plea agreements that, in essence, would have resulted in a 12-year or 15-year sentence. Petitioner rejected these offers. During trial, following the Government's presentation of evidence, Petitioner was offered a plea agreement that would have resulted in a 17 year sentence. Petitioner rejected this offer, proceeded through trial, was convicted on all Counts and was sentenced to 414 months (34 years, 6 months) of incarceration.

         Petitioner contends that he did not understand, and his counsel did not make clear, that if convicted at trial he could receive any sentence in excess of seven years. Petitioner further contends that he was advised by his trial counsel that he would be found not guilty of conspiracy and acquitted on all charges.

         1. The Sentence Exposure Contentions

         Petitioner contends that he understood that the maximum sentence he could receive if ...


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