United States District Court, D. Minnesota
K. Bell, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, for plaintiff.
D. Brooks, Sr., pro se.
Patrick J. Schiltz United States District Judge
Ryan Brooks pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of
a firearm and was sentenced to 95 months' imprisonment.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
affirmed Brooks's sentence on direct appeal. United
States v. Brooks, 681 Fed.Appx. 566 (8th Cir. 2017).
matter is before the Court on Brooks's motion to vacate,
set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. §
2255. Brooks has also filed a motion to supplement his §
2255 motion and two motions demanding production of evidence
that he believes is relevant to his § 2255 motion. For
the reasons that follow, Brooks's motion to supplement is
granted, the (supplemented) § 2255 motion is denied, and
the two motions seeking production of evidence are denied.
Because the record conclusively demonstrates that Brooks is
not entitled to relief, no hearing is necessary. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(b); Noe v. United States, 601 F.3d 784,
792 (8th Cir. 2010).
his grandmother, his mother, and his girlfriend were involved
in a family drug-distribution operation. According to the
government, the center of the operation was a pizza
restaurant owned by Brooks, through which the family
allegedly laundered the proceeds of their drug dealing.
November 2014, law enforcement received a tip about drug
deliveries that were being made to Brooks's restaurant
and to his grandmother's house. ECF No. 33 at ¶ 7.
Between August 2012 and October 2013, four different
marijuana deliveries were intercepted on their way to one of
those two locations. Id. A search warrant was
executed on a fifth package set to be delivered to
Brooks's grandmother's house on November 20, 2014.
Id. A search of that package revealed over five
pounds of marijuana. Id.
aftermath of this discovery, additional search warrants were
obtained for four Brooks family properties. Id. at
¶ 9. Police discovered two guns and distribution
quantities of drugs, along with much other evidence of drug
dealing. Id. at ¶¶ 10-12. Brooks, his
grandmother, his mother, and his girlfriend were arrested,
and all of them ultimately pleaded guilty to (or were found
guilty of) various state and federal crimes. See ECF
No. 26; ECF No. 78-1; ECF No. 78-2; ECF No. 78-3.
was the first to plead guilty. After being charged with an
array of crimes in state and federal court, Brooks pleaded
guilty in federal court on August 26, 2015 to one count of
being a felon in possession of a firearm. ECF No. 26.
Pursuant to Brooks's plea agreement, the federal
government agreed that it would move to dismiss a second
count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. ECF No. 26
at 1. The plea agreement did not say a word about the pending
state charges against Brooks and his family members.
See ECF No. 26. The plea agreement also
affirmatively represented that “[t]his is the entire
agreement and understanding between the United States and the
defendant. There are no other agreements, promises,
representations, or understandings.” ECF No. 26 at 7.
And at his change-of-plea hearing, Brooks testified under
oath that the government had not made any promises to him
that were not described in the plea agreement. ECF No. 56 at
after Brooks entered his guilty plea in federal court, his
grandmother, mother, and girlfriend all pleaded guilty to (or
were found guilty of) various crimes in state court.
Brooks's grandmother pleaded guilty in August 2015 to
fifth-degree possession, Brooks's girlfriend pleaded
guilty in September 2015 to first-degree possession, and
Brooks's mother was convicted in October
of engaging in the business of concealing criminal proceeds.
ECF No. 78-1; ECF No. 78-2; ECF No. 78-3. By the end of 2015,
Brooks's grandmother, mother, and girlfriend had all been
was sentenced on his federal conviction on April 8, 2016. ECF
No. 47. In calculating Brooks's range under the United
States Sentencing Guidelines, the Court applied two
enhancements that are relevant to Brooks's § 2255
motion. First, the Court found that Brooks's base offense
level was increased to 24 because he had two prior felony
convictions of a “crime of
violence”-specifically, convictions of second-degree
assault and third-degree assault under Minnesota law.
See U.S.S.G. §§ 4B1.1, 4B1.2(a)(1); ECF
No. 41 at 9; ECF No. 33 at ¶ 25. Second, the Court
applied a four-level enhancement because Brooks had possessed
the weapon in connection with another felony-specifically,
possessing marijuana with intent to distribute. See
U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(6)(B); ECF No. 33 at ¶ 28. The
parties had stipulated to this latter enhancement. ECF No. 26
at ¶ 5(b). Brooks was also given a three-point reduction
for acceptance of responsibility, resulting in a total
offense level of 25. ECF No. 26 at ¶ 5(c); ECF No. 57 at
Court calculated Brooks's criminal-history category as VI
and his Guidelines range as 110 to 120 months. (The range was
capped at 120 months by the statutory maximum.) ECF No. 57 at
5. The Court granted a downward variance and sentenced Brooks
to 95 months' imprisonment. ECF No. 57 at 13. Shortly
after Brooks's sentencing in federal court, the state
charges against Brooks were dismissed. ECF No. 76 at 4.
appealed his 95-month sentence, arguing that it “was
unreasonable and greater than necessary to accomplish the
goals of federal sentencing.” Brief of Appellant at i,
United States v. Brooks, 681 Fed.Appx. 566 (8th Cir.
2017) (No. 16-1982). Brooks did not challenge any of the
Court's Guidelines calculations or other rulings. The
Eighth Circuit rejected Brooks's argument and affirmed
his sentence. United States v. Brooks, 681 Fed.Appx.
566 (8th Cir. 2017).
then filed a § 2255 petition. In his original petition,
Brooks argued only that he was denied effective assistance of
counsel when his lawyer failed to argue that his prior
second-degree assault conviction was not a “crime of
violence” and thus should not have been used to
increase his base offense level. ECF No. 69. Brooks later
filed a motion to supplement his § 2255 petition-a
motion to which the government has not objected-in order to
argue that his lawyer was ineffective in connection with the
four-level enhancement that he received under §
2K2.1(b)(6)(B) for possessing a weapon in connection with
another felony. ECF No. 70. Brooks argues that he stipulated
to the § 2K2.1(b)(6)(B) enhancement only because the
federal government made a secret promise that the State of
Minnesota would not to pursue criminal charges against his
grandmother, mother, and girlfriend-and that his attorney was
ineffective in entering or failing to enforce that deal.
Alternatively, Brooks argues that his attorney erred in
advising him that application of the § 2K2.1(b)(6)(B)
enhancement was a foregone conclusion, when, in fact, it was
unlikely that the government could have established that the
enhancement applied. Brooks alleges that, had he been
properly advised, and had he known that the government would
not abide by its secret promise, Brooks would not have
“forf[ei]ted a Factual hearing” by stipulating to
the § 2K2.1(b)(6)(B) enhancement; instead, he would have
“insisted in having the Government[']s
evidence.” ECF No. 70 at 2, 5.