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United States v. Oakgrove

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

October 14, 2014


Jeffrey S. Paulson, Assistant United States Attorney, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, United States Courthouse, Minneapolis, MN 55415, for Plaintiff.

Andrew D. Oakgrove, United States Penitentiary Canaan, Waymart, PA pro se.


JOHN R. TUNHEIM, District Judge.

On February 6, 2013, Petitioner Andrew Oakgrove pled guilty to harboring and concealing a fugitive in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1071. He is currently serving a 30 month sentence of imprisonment. Oakgrove now brings this motion to vacate or set aside his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, arguing that his conviction is invalid because (1) the government failed to prove he was an Indian, (2) the Court did not have jurisdiction, (3) he was denied effective assistance of counsel, (4) the evidence used against him was the result of an unreasonable search and seizure, and (5) his guilty plea was unlawfully induced or he did not understand the charge and consequences of his plea. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny his motion.


On April 30, 2012, Oakgrove was driving a vehicle and transporting Jason King as a passenger in that vehicle. An arrest warrant had previously been issued for King based on charges of interference with commerce by robbery and related crimes. Oakgrove then led police officers on a high-speed chase for several miles. When the chase ended, Oakgrove and King were both arrested. Oakgrove pled guilty to concealing a person from arrest under 18 U.S.C. § 1071, which states:

Whoever harbors or conceals any person for whose arrest a warrant or process has been issued under the provisions of any law of the United States, so as to prevent his discovery and arrest, after notice or knowledge of the fact that a warrant or process has been issued for the apprehension of such person, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both....

18 U.S.C. § 1071; ( see also Plea Agreement, Feb. 6, 2013, Docket No. 15.) The Court sentenced Oakgrove to 30 months imprisonment. (Sentencing J., May 15, 2013, Docket No. 29.)



Section 2255 allows a federal prisoner a limited opportunity to seek postconviction relief on the grounds 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, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). "Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is reserved for transgressions of constitutional rights and for a narrow range of injuries that could not have been raised on direct appeal and, if uncorrected, would result in a complete miscarriage of justice.'" Eagle v. United States, 742 F.3d 1079, 1081-82 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting United States v. Apfel, 97 F.3d 1074, 1076 (8thCir. 1996)).


A. Indian Status

Oakgrove's primary basis for vacating his conviction is based on his argument that the government failed to recognize, or include in the indictment, that he is a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe. ( See Mot. to Vacate at 6, Oct. 11, 2013, Docket No. 31 ("The court failed to reco[g]nize the Defendant is a[n] Indian from a federal reco[g]nized tribe beyond a reasonable doubt in indictment.").) He appears to base this argument on United States v. Zepeda, 738 F.3d 201 (9th Cir. 2013). There, the Ninth Circuit considered a defendant charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1153, which states that "[a]ny Indian who commits [a long list of specific crimes] shall be subject to the same law and penalties as all other persons committing any of the above offenses, within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States." 18 U.S.C. § 1153(a). As explained in Zepeda, § 1153 "creates federal jurisdiction for cases in which an Indian commits one of a list of thirteen enumerated crimes in Indian country, " and is one of two statutes Congress enacted in order "[t]o balance the sovereignty interest of Indian tribes and the United States's interest in punishing offenses committed in Indian country." Zepeda, 738 F.3d at 206. The court there considered whether a Certificate of Enrollment in an Indian tribe entered into evidence through the parties' stipulation was sufficient evidence upon which a rational jury could conclude that a defendant was an Indian for the purposes of § 1153. Id. at 204. The court observed that "question of ...

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