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White v. United States

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

April 24, 2018



          GEORGE J. HAZEL United States District Judge

         On December 16. 2014. Petitioner John David White was sentenced to 248 months in prison after a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin, possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, maintaining a drug-involved premises, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. ECF No. 72. On January 5. 2017. White filed a Habeas Corpus Motion to Vacate Indictment ("Motion to Vacate") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. which is currently pending before the Court. ECF No. 143.[1] 1 le has since supplemented his Motion with additional briefings and exhibits. ECF No. 146; ECF No. 158: ECF No. 159. Respondent. United States of America, filed a Response brief. ECF No. 164. and White filed a Reply brief. ECF No. 170. No hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the following reasons. White's Motion to Vacate is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background [2]

         On May 28, 2013. law enforcement intercepted and opened a suspicious crate shipment. ECF No. 164 at 2.[3]Pursuant to a search warrant, officers opened the crate and found more than two kilograms of cocaine, in the form of two bricks, hidden inside a toaster oven. Id. The officers put the cocaine back in the crate, in order to investigate the intended delivery location. On May 29, 2013. a freight shipping company delivered the crate to Cheverly Self Storage. Id. The delivery driver put the crate in front of Storage Unit 4020. which was leased to White. Id. Later on May 29th, White arrived at the storage unit, unlocked it. pushed the crate inside, and closed the unit. Id. at 3. Officers took him into custody as he was attempting to leave the storage facility. Id. After waiving his Miranda rights. White spoke to the officers and admitted that he owned the storage unit. Id. In the early morning hours of May 30. 2014. the officers obtained search warrants for White's storage unit, vehicle, and residence. Id. They found shipping materials, a foil wrapper, digital scales, measuring spoons which had heroin residue on them, and 185 grams of heroin. Id. In his home, the officers found large amounts of cash, a pistol and bullets, and additional bags and scales which tested positive for heroin residue. Id. at 4.

         Before trial. White raised the issue of a discrepancy in the search warrant and charging document that were issued for him. which were signed by Corporal Jones, and moved to suppress the results of the searches. The charging document and statement of probable cause both are dated May 29, 2013. and time stamped "18:25." ECF No. 158-1. The documents describe the search that officers performed of White's storage unit, although the search warrant was not obtained until the early morning hours of May 30, 2014. See Id. at 4, White argued that this indicated that officers had searched his storage unit and vehicle on May 29th. before they obtained a search warrant. At the pretrial motions hearing. Officers Margulis and Ermer testified regarding the search of White's property. Both officers were present at White's storage unit when he was stopped by law enforcement on May 29, 2013. ECF No. 98 at 6. 39. Both officers testified that no one searched White's property until a search warrant was obtained around 1:15 am on May 30. 2013. Id. at 10. 46-47. Regarding the date on the charging document and statement of probable cause. Officer Margulis testified that this was produced through an automated system, which transferred the times and dates from an individual's arrest report to the statement of charges. Id. at 16. Therefore, the descriptive content on the charging document and statement of probable cause may postdate the date and time stamp on the document, where additional details were added at a later time. Id.

         Judge Titus[4] denied White's pretrial motion to suppress, finding Officers Margulis and Ermer to be "coherent, rational, [and] credible." Id. at 74. He credited their testimony that "the search of the storage locker did not take place until after 1:00 in the morning" after the officers had received a search warrant. Id. at 83. Judge Titus deemed the date discrepancy of one day as "such a minor matter" and denied White's motion to suppress. Id. at 85. At trial. White again argued to the jury that his storage unit had actually been searched on May 29. 2013. ECF No. 124 at 181. In addition to Officers Margulis and Ermer's testimony, the jury also heard from Corporal Jones, who had completed and signed the charging document, who testified that the date and time stamps on the charging document were automatically generated when the booking process was initiated, and did not mean that all events described on the document occurred prior to the date and time stamps. ECF No. 131 at 103-105. The jury found White guilty on all counts. ECF No. 71.

         B. Procedural Background

         On December 16. 2014, the Court sentenced White to 248 months of imprisonment. ECF No. 116. White appealed his sentence, which was affirmed on February 10, 2016. ECF No. 133. Since then. White has filed a number of motions with the Court, in an attempt to vacate his conviction and procure a new trial. The majority of his arguments overlap across these various motions. On September 16. 2016. White filed a Motion for Leave to File for a New Trial. ECF No. 135. On December 19, 2016. he filed a Motion for Default Judgment regarding his previous motion. ECF No. 141. On January 5. 2017, he filed a Habeas Corpus Motion to Vacate Indictment. ECF No. 143. which he supplemented on January 17. ECF No. 146. May 10. ECF No. 158, and May 24, 2017. ECF No. 159. He also filed additional Motions for Default Judgment on May 5 and May 8. 2017. ECF No. 156. ECF No. 157.[5] The Government filed an opposition to White's motions on June 16. 2017, ECF No. 164. to which White replied. FCF No. 170.

         In his various motions, White repeatedly raises the same arguments that his Fourth. Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights were violated. First, he argues that the Complaint and warrant which the Government relied on was based on the "perjured testimony" of Corporal Jones and Margulis. E.g., ECF No. 135-1 at 5: ECF No. 143 at 5; ECF No. 159. Second, he argues that the Government withheld Jenks and Brady[6]material by failing to produce the identity of an "anonymous third party" who informed Corporal Jones that "a warrant was issued incident to White's arrest." E.g., ECF No. 135-1 at 12-13. Third, in his Reply brief White raises a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, arguing that his trial attorney did not adequately represent him by failing to object to the evidence provided by Jones at trial, and by failing to call Jones to testify at a May 2014 motions hearing. ECF No. 170 at 3, 8. White also argues that he asked his attorney to file a motion to suppress evidence seized from his storage locker, but that his attorney refused to do so. claiming that the motion "would or could not be successful." and that the attorney "became angry and shut down and refused to speak or assist me legally with my case." Id. at 7. furthermore. White argues that each of his attorneys has refused to argue that his Fifth Amendment rights were violated "due to the charges this case is predicated off of are tainted with perjured statements and the charges are false." Id. at 10. Finally. White argues that he is entitled to default judgment in his favor, because the Government did not timely respond to his motions. Kg., ECF No. 141: ECF No. 156: ECF No. 157.


          In order to be entitled to relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. a petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that "the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a); see also United States v. Moore. 993 F.2d 1541 (4th Cir. 1993) (unpublished) (citing Vanater v. Boles. 377 F.2d 898 (4th Cir. 1967)). Aprose petitioner is. of course, entitled to have his arguments reviewed with appropriate consideration. See Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147. 1151-53 (4th Cir. 1978). Where, however, a § 2255 petition, along with the files and records of the case, conclusively shows the petitioner is not entitled to relief, a hearing on the motion is unnecessary and the claims raised therein may be dismissed summarily. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b).


         A. Fourth ...

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