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United States v. Moua

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

July 31, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Tong Moua, Defendant.

          LeeAnn K. Bell & Melinda A. Williams, United States Attorney for Plaintiff.

          Tong Moua, pro se.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Tong Moua's Pro Se Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct the Sentence Imposed Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (“§ 2255 Motion”) [Doc. No. 164]. Based on a review of the files, records and proceedings herein, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Defendant's § 2255 Motion.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         A. Discovery Disclosures

         On April 12, 2016, Defendant was indicted for two robberies that took place in the St. Paul, Minnesota area. (Indictment [Doc. No. 12].) On September 21, 2016, a Superseding Indictment [Doc. No. 49] was filed charging Defendant with a total of six bank robberies and one attempted bank robbery that occurred between August 29, 2015 and March 1, 2016.

         The Government made discovery disclosures of documents Bates numbered 1-2144 on April 29, 2016. (Gov't Ex. A [Doc. No. 175-1].) Because the Government was initially unable to complete its redaction process, the parties agreed to a temporary protective order to allow Defendant to review the evidence against him, but prohibited him from retaining personal copies. (Becker Aff. [Doc. No. 175-7] at 1.)

         After production, the Government's investigator, John Lageson, met with Defendant to review the discovery materials twice-once on May 18, 2016 and again on June 3, 2016. (Id.) However, Defendant also wanted his own copy of the discovery materials. (Id.) So, on August 30, 2016, Defendant was provided with a redacted copy of all the discovery materials with the personal identifying information of any victims or witnesses removed. (Gov't Ex. D [Doc. No. 175-4].)

         B. Plea Negotiations

         An initial plea offer was conveyed on April 18, 2016, proposing a Rule 11(c)(1)(C) agreement to 240 months. (Becker Aff. at 2.) Defendant's counsel, James Becker, relayed the offer to Defendant on April 22, 2016, and explained that this offer precluded his ability to request a variance. (Id. at 3.)

         A second plea offer was made on July 15, 2016, proposing that Defendant agree to a sentence between 120 and 240 months, with the Government indicating that it would seek 240 months' imprisonment. (Id. at 3.) Defendant's counsel reviewed this offer with Defendant on August 9, 2016, and also discussed a possible acceptance of responsibility reduction, as well as the ability to request any sentence between 120 and 240 months. (Id.)

         That same day, Defendant and counsel met with the Government for a reverse proffer. (Id. at 2.) The Government explained to Defendant that if he pled guilty to Count 2 and admitted responsibility for the additional six robberies he was charged with, the Government would request a three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility. (Gov't Ex. F [Doc. No. 175-6] at 22.) The resulting Guidelines range, the Government explained, would be 120 to 150 months' imprisonment. The final plea offer proposed a Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement, wherein the Defendant could not ask for less than 120 months, and the Government could not ask for more than 180 months. (Id.) No. plea offer was accepted.

         C. Trial ...


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