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United States of America v. Franklin Goodwin

May 2, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: John W. Lungstrum United States District Judge


On February 1, 2008, Franklin Goodwin, Jr. was charged along with twenty-three other individuals in a 39-count superseding indictment. Pertinent to the motions presently pending in this case, Mr. Goodwin was charged with one count of conspiracy to manufacture, to possess with intent to distribute, or to distribute cocaine base and/or cocaine between January 2006 and November 27, 2007.

Generally, "the conspiracy involved Monterial Wesley and Shevel Foy pooling their money together to purchase large quantities of cocaine from Thomas Humphrey. Mr. Wesley and Mr. Foy then sold the cocaine to mid-level dealers, including Henry Grigsby, who sold it to street-level dealers like Mr. Goodwin." United States v. Goodwin, 433 Fed. Appx. 636, 637 (10th Cir. 2011). At trial, the government's evidence against Mr. Goodwin consisted, in part, of incriminating conversations intercepted from telephones belonging to Mr. Grigsby and Mr. Wesley, two of Mr. Goodwin's co-defendants. See United States v. Foy, 641 F.3d 455, 461 (10th Cir. 2011). These conversations revealed that Mr. Goodwin purchased or attempted to purchase from his co-defendants cocaine or crack cocaine on several occasions. The government also introduced evidence that Mr. Goodwin had provided a statement to law enforcement officers in which he admitted to purchasing cocaine from Mr. Grigsby on several occasions. Mr. Grigsby testified that Mr. Goodwin purchased cocaine from him on several occasions and another co-defendant, Keenan Ringgold, testified that Mr. Goodwin purchased crack cocaine from him on several occasions.

A jury ultimately found Mr. Goodwin guilty of the conspiracy charge and the court sentenced Mr. Goodwin on the conspiracy charge to a mandatory minimum sentence of life imprisonment in light of an enhancement information filed by the government pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851 identifying two prior felony drug convictions. The Tenth Circuit subsequently affirmed Mr. Goodwin's conviction and sentence on the conspiracy charge. Id. at 643.

This matter is now before the court on three motions filed by Mr. Goodwin-a motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (doc. 1480); a motion to reduce sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c) (doc. 1470); and a motion for intake records (doc. 1542). As explained in more detail below, the court denies each of these motions as well as Mr. Goodwin's request for an evidentiary hearing.

Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence

In his § 2255 petition, Mr. Goodwin asserts that he does not have two prior convictions for purposes of qualifying for § 841's mandatory life sentence and that, accordingly, the court sentenced him to a penalty in excess of the statutory maximum and acted in excess of its authority by imposing a life sentence under § 841(b)(1)(A). Mr. Goodwin also raises numerous claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.*fn1 The court addresses each of these claims in turn.*fn2

Prior-Conviction Sentence Enhancement Under § 841(b)(1)(A)

Mr. Goodwin contends that the convictions upon which the government relied to impose a mandatory life sentence were insufficient under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A). Section 841(b)(1)(A) imposes a mandatory life sentence for any individual convicted under § 841(a) "after two or more prior convictions for a felony drug offense have become final." Id. § 841(b)(1)(A). The record reflects that the first prior felony drug conviction arose out of Mr. Goodwin's arrest in May 1998 for possession of cocaine with intent to sell and possession of marijuana and that the second conviction arose of out Mr. Goodwin's arrest in October 1999 for possession of cocaine. The record further shows that the "date of conviction" for both cases is the same-December 2, 1999-and the sentencing date for both cases is the same-March 20, 2000.

According to Mr. Goodwin, the charges in one of the underlying cases were dismissed and he was never convicted in that case. Mr. Goodwin raised this same argument in response to the Presentence Investigation Report. In a written objection to the finding of two prior felony drug convictions, Mr. Goodwin's counsel noted that his client, Mr. Goodwin, was "convinced" that one of the two cases was dismissed "based on his memory," but that counsel had not located any documents indicating a dismissal. Mr. Goodwin further objected to the finding of two prior convictions on the grounds that the defendant in one of the cases was a different Franklin Goodwin. After an evidentiary hearing on the identification issue and the admission of the journal entries of conviction, the court overruled the objection

In his motion to vacate, Mr. Goodwin again urges that the charges in one of the cases were dismissed and that he was never actually convicted. In support of his argument, he cites to "Exhibit A," but no such exhibit is attached to his motion and there is no evidence before the court suggesting that one of the cases was dismissed.*fn3 In fact, the evidence demonstrates that each case resulted in a conviction. Mr. Goodwin's confusion may stem from the fact that he was convicted in both cases on the same day and was sentenced in both cases on the same day. While these facts may have caused Mr. Goodwin to believe that only one case remained pending, the record reflects that both cases remained pending and resulted in separate convictions. See United States v. Kelsor, 665 F.3d 684, 700 (6th Cir. 2011) (two felony drug convictions properly counted as separate convictions where they arose from separate criminal episodes despite the fact that defendant was arrested for the offenses on the same day, convicted in both cases on the same day, and was sentenced for the convictions on the same day).

The court properly sentenced Mr. Goodwin to the statutory mandatory minimum life sentence under § 841(b)(1)(A) in light of Mr. Goodwin's two prior qualifying felony drug convictions.

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Mr. Goodwin raises more than 15 separate claims wherein he contends that the performance by trial and appellate counsel was deficient in violation of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. "To establish ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must show 'that counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness' and that he was prejudiced by the deficient performance." United States v. ...

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