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United States v. Trejo

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 9, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Carlos Samuel Trejo, Defendant.

          LeeAnn K. Bell, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney's Office, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Plaintiff.

          Carlos Samuel Trejo, pro se.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ANN D. MONTGOMERY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the undersigned United States District Judge for a ruling on Defendant Carlos Samuel Trejo's (“Trejo”) Motion to Vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [Criminal Docket No. 97] (“2255 Motion”).[1] For the reasons below, Trejo's Motion is denied.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On April 7, 2014, Trejo was charged by Indictment [Docket No. 1] with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A). The charge carried a 120-month mandatory minimum sentence.

         Prior to trial, Trejo filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained by Search or Seizure [Docket No. 20]. Trejo challenged the legality of the December 23, 2013 search warrant sought to suppress methamphetamine, a firearm, and other items of contraband seized from a room where Trejo was staying. See Mem. Supp. Mot. Suppress [Docket No. 35].

         On July 21, 2014, Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung recommended that Trejo's Motion be denied. R&R [Docket No. 41]. Trejo filed an Objection [Docket No. 42] to the R&R, maintaining his argument that the search warrant was deficient because it lacked probable cause. On August 15, 2014, Trejo's Objection was overruled, the R&R was adopted, and the Motion to Suppress was denied. See Mem. Op. & Order [Docket No. 47]. The case proceeded to trial.

         Prior to jury selection, on August 25, 2014, the Court held a pretrial conference. During the conference, the Government placed on the record a plea offer it had extended to Trejo. Under the terms of the offer, Trejo could plead guilty to a count carrying a mandatory minimum of 5 years instead of the 10-year mandatory minimum he faced if he proceeded to trial. Trial Tr. [Docket Nos. 86-88] at 8:19-9:4. Trejo's counsel confirmed that he had received the Government's offer, had communicated it to Trejo, and that Trejo had decided to decline the offer and wished to proceed to trial. Id., at 9:8-12. At the pretrial conference, Trejo confirmed both that he had received the Government's offer and that his counsel had answered all of his questions about the plea offer. Id. at 9:13-24.

         Trejo proceeded to trial. During trial, Trejo's counsel cross-examined each of the Government witnesses, objected to the admission of Government evidence, and called witnesses on Trejo's behalf. See generally id. On August 27, 2014, the jury found Trejo guilty of Count 1 in the Indictment, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. See Verdict [Docket No. 70]. Trejo was sentenced to 188 months imprisonment, which was below the guideline range of 210 to 262 months imprisonment. See Sentencing J. [Docket No. 80].

         On March 20, 2015, Trejo filed a Notice of Appeal [Docket No. 82], arguing that the Court incorrectly denied his Motion to Suppress and erred in admitting into evidence redacted telephone conversations of Trejo recorded while he was detained prior to trial. The Eighth Circuit affirmed his conviction. See United States v. Trejo, 632 F. App'x 877 (8th Cir. 2015).

         On October 30, 2017, Trejo filed the 2255 Motion. Trejo argues that his attorney was ineffective for three reasons: 1) for failing to vigorously cross examine the Government's witnesses; 2) for failing to vigorously object to the denial of the Motion to Suppress; and 3) for failing to adequately advise Trejo about the Government's plea offer.

         III. ...


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