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United States v. Eastling

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

July 27, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DAMIEN DWAYNE EASTLING, Defendant.

Thomas M. Hollenhorst, Assistant United States Attorney, Counsel for Plaintiff.

Damien Dwayne Eastling, pro se.

ORDER

MICHAEL J. DAVIS, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Damien Dwayne Eastling's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody. [Docket No. 487]

II. BACKGROUND

On October 15, 2012, Petitioner Damien Dwayne Eastling ("Petitioner") was charged with Count 1: Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C §§ 841(a)(1), 841 (b)(1)(A) and 846, as well as seven other counts alleging possession and distribution of heroin. [Docket No. 1] On January 17, 2013, Petitioner pled guilty to Count 1 pursuant to a written plea agreement. [Docket Nos. 283, 286] On September 26, 2013, this Court sentenced Petitioner to 120 months imprisonment and five years of supervised release, while dismissing all other counts against Petitioner. [Docket Nos. 450, 469]

Petitioner filed the instant § 2255 motion on September 4, 2014, alleging that his attorney, Glenn P. Bruder, Esq. ("Bruder") deprived him of constitutionally adequate assistance of counsel by (1) failing to investigate a two-level enhancement for possession of a firearm; (2) failing to put the burden on the government to show a nexus between the firearm and Petitioner's criminal misconduct; and (3) failing to fully inform him of the consequences of his guilty plea (the "third prong" of Petitioner's § 2255 motion). [Docket No. 487]

On September 29, 2014, the Government filed a Motion to Confirm Waiver of Attorney-Client Privilege, arguing that in order to properly address Petitioner's allegations, Bruder would either need to testify at a hearing or provide an affidavit disclosing otherwise privileged communications with Petitioner. Ultimately, the Court granted the Government's motion only insofar as it related to the third prong of Petitioner's § 2255 motion. The Government filed Bruder's sealed affidavit with the Court on May 8, 2015.

A. Standard for Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a) provides:

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground 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, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.
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. A movant may not raise constitutional issues for the first time on collateral review without establishing both cause for the procedural default and actual prejudice resulting from the error.

United States v. Apfel, 97 F.3d 1074, 1076 (8th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted). Alternatively, the procedural default can be excused if the defendant is actually innocent. Bousley v. ...


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