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Martin v. United States

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 13, 2017

Geshik-O-Binese NMN Martin, Petitioner-Defendant,
v.
United States of America, Respondent-Defendant. Civil No. 15-2210 (DWF)

          AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DONOVAN W. FRANK United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         This Court filed a Memorandum Opinion and Order on February 17, 2017 in which it denied Petitioner-Defendant Geshik-O-Binese Martin's (“Petitioner-Defendant”) motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. (Doc. No. 497). The Court also respectfully denied the Petitioner-Defendant's four pro se motions filed on August 23, 2016 (Doc. Nos. 475, 476, 477 & 478). In addition to those motions, the Court, with the exception of one issue, denied any further evidentiary hearings and denied a certificate of appealability.

         However, the Court had conducted an evidentiary hearing on August 30, 2016, on the sole issue of whether the Petitioner-Defendant's trial counsel was ineffective because he did not communicate a plea offer to him. That issue was not addressed in the Court's February 17, 2017 Memorandum Opinion and Order.

         As the Court stated in its Memorandum Opinion and Order of February 17, 2017, (Doc. No. 497), this matter is before the Court on the Petitioner-Defendant's pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. No. 420.) The United States of America (“the Government”) opposes the Petitioner-Defendant's motions. (Doc. Nos. 447, 486.)

         The Petitioner-Defendant alleges in his § 2255 motion that: (1) his trial counsel was ineffective in advising him to sign a stipulation regarding his Indian status; (2) that insufficient evidence existed to prove his Indian status beyond a reasonable doubt; (3) that his trial counsel was ineffective because he did not communicate a plea offer to him; (4) that his appellate counsel failed to argue prosecutorial misconduct by the United States Attorney's Office; and (5) that his trial counsel failed to raise an intoxication defense and request proper jury instructions for an intoxication defense.

         On August 23, 2016, the Petitioner-Defendant filed the following pro se motions: (1) motion requesting the Court to issue a subpoena to compel the Red Lake Tribal Court to respond to the Petitioner-Defendant's motions to challenge the trial court's jurisdiction over him for tribal court convictions as well as to order the Red Lake Tribal Court to respond to his jurisdictional challenge to his Tribal Court convictions; (2) motion to amend his § 2255 petition regarding ineffective assistance of his appellate counsel by alleging that his appellate counsel was ineffective because counsel cited erroneous law in making legal arguments and alleging that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals incorrectly applied law that was not applicable to the situation presented in his case; (3) motion to stay proceedings related to his § 2255 motion until the Petitioner-Defendant received documentation from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians relating to his arguments pertaining to his Indian status; and (4) motion for issuance of a subpoena or court order to compel the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians to respond to the Petitioner-Defendant's various inquiries regarding his nonmember status and lack of recognition by the Red Lake Band.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In August 2012, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment charging the Petitioner-Defendant, and his codefendants, Edward McCabe Robinson, David John Martin, George Allen Martin, Kevin John Needham, and Terin Rene Stately, with aiding and abetting Murder in the First Degree and aiding and abetting Murder in the Second Degree, all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2, 1111, 1151, and 1153(a), and aiding and abetting Robbery in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2, 1151, 1153(A), and 2111, for their respective roles in the robbery and deaths of Craig David Roy and Darla Ann Beaulieu. (Doc. No. 1.)

         The case was tried before a jury for nine days, beginning on February 25, 2013. Significantly, the Petitioner-Defendant testified on his own behalf before the jury. (Tr. 1352-1431.) During the direct examination by his trial counsel, the Petitioner-Defendant admitted that he was an Indian. (Tr. 1352.) The Petitioner-Defendant testified and claimed that he and his codefendants went to the Roy residence to retrieve David Martin's clothes on January 1, 2011. (Tr. 1362-64.) The Petitioner-Defendant also testified that he alone stabbed the victims, Roy and Beaulieu, and did so in self-defense after Roy became violent. (Tr. 1368-74.) The Petitioner-Defendant was very clear in testifying that his codefendants were not in the Roy residence at the time of the murders. (Id.)

         The jury returned a verdict finding that the Petitioner-Defendant guilty on all counts. (Doc. No. 274.[1])

         On June 21, 2013, this Court sentenced the Petitioner-Defendant to consecutive terms of life imprisonment for the first-degree murder convictions and a concurrent term of 15 years imprisonment for the robbery conviction. (Doc. No. 319.)

         On appeal to the Eighth Circuit, the Petitioner-Defendant argued improper ex parte contact by the undersigned with the jury during jury selection and alleged that the Government failed to prove his Indian status under § 1153, even though he had stipulated and admitted to that fact. United States v. Martin, 777 F.3d 984, 990-94 (8th Cir. 2015). The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the district court on February 4, 2015. Id. at 998.

         On June 8, 2015, the United States Supreme Court denied the Petitioner-Defendant's petition for writ of certiorari. Martin v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2827 (2015).

         On August 17, 2015, the Petitioner-Defendant filed his pro se motion to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. No. 420.)

         On May 23, 2016, the Court appointed counsel to represent the Petitioner-Defendant in his § 2255 matter. (Doc. No. 467.) The Petitioner-Defendant filed four pro se motions on August 23, 2016, which was subsequent to appointment of counsel. The Petitioner-Defendant's counsel acknowledged at the evidentiary hearing that she had reviewed all of his claims and would only be addressing assisting the Petitioner-Defendant with respect to the issue before the Court at the evidentiary hearing which was the issue of whether the Petitioner-Defendant's trial counsel had provided ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to communicate a plea offer from the Government. The evidentiary hearing occurred, as referenced above, on August 30, 2016.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

         The United States Constitution guarantees that the accused “shall enjoy the right . . . to have the Assistance of Counsel” in criminal prosecutions. U.S. Const. amend. VI. To prevail on a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel under § 2255, however, a defendant must overcome a “heavy burden.” United States v. Apfel, 97 F.3d 1074, 1076 (8th Cir. 1996). To overcome that burden, a defendant must first “show that counsel's performance was deficient.” Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984). The deficiency must be “so serious that counsel was not functioning as the ‘counsel' guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment.” Id. Second, the defendant must establish that the deficient performance actually prejudiced the defense. Id.

         To establish that there was a deficient performance, the defendant must show that the errors were not the result of “reasonable professional judgment.” Id. at 690. There is a strong presumption “that counsel . . . rendered adequate assistance.” Id. A defendant must prove, then, with “a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome, ” that “but for ...


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