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United States v. Rogers

United States District Court, District of Kansas

October 16, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
TONY ROGERS, Defendant. Criminal No. 12-CR-20126-002

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

CARLOS MURGUIA United States District Judge

This matter is before the court on defendant’s Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody (Doc. 67). For the reasons stated below, the court denies the motion.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Defendant was charged under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2421 and 2 with transportation of an individual in interstate commerce with the intent that such individual engage in prostitution. On December 12, 2012, defendant entered into a plea agreement with the government and pled guilty to the charge. (Doc. 26.) In his plea agreement, defendant agreed that he drove co-defendant (Danyelle Putnam) and “K.C.” from Independence, Missouri, to Prairie Village, Kansas, with the intent that K.C. engage in prostitution. (Id.) The plea agreement did not reference K.C.’s age.

A Presentence Report (PSR) was prepared and filed (Doc. 40). The PSR stated that the victim, K.C., was a juvenile. (Id. ¶ 18.) The defendant never disputed this fact, nor did he object to the PSR, which stated that the defendant “admitted the essential elements of the crime charged” and also that the “offense involved commission of a sex act.” (Id. ¶¶ 20, 23, 91.) The PSR further stated that “[t]he defendant shall register as a sex offender, ” (id. ¶ 76), to which defendant also did not object. In a sentencing memorandum filed by defendant, he acknowledged that he “assisted the codefendant in transporting the 17-year-old foster home runaway to engage in interstate prostitution.” (Doc. 47.)

On June 10, 2013, the court sentenced defendant to 57 months’ imprisonment and 2 years of supervised release. (Doc. 55.) The court also ordered that defendant “register as a sex offender” upon his release from custody. (Id.) Defendant did not directly appeal his conviction or sentence.

On April 28, 2014, defendant filed this motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, [1] arguing that his attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel, claiming he “should not have [been] required to register as [a sex offender].” (Doc. 67.)

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

The court applies the standard identified in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), when determining whether a habeas petitioner’s counsel provided ineffective assistance. See Romano v. Gibson, 278 F.3d 1145, 1151 (10th Cir. 2002) (applying Strickland). Under Strickland, a petitioner bears the burden of satisfying a two-pronged test in order to prevail.

First, he must show that his attorney’s “performance was deficient” and “fell below an objective standard of reasonableness.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687–88. The court affords considerable deference to an attorney’s strategic decisions and “recognize[s] that counsel is strongly presumed to have rendered adequate assistance and made all significant decisions in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment.” Id. at 690.

Second, a habeas petitioner must demonstrate prejudice, which requires a showing that there is “a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.” Id. at 694. “A reasonable probability is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome.” Id. But, despite the existence of two prongs, “there is no reason for a court deciding an ineffective assistance claim to . . . address both components of the inquiry if the [petitioner] makes an insufficient showing on one. . . . If it is easier to dispose of an ineffectiveness claim on the ground of lack of sufficient prejudice . . . that course should be followed.” Id. at 697.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Defendant cannot satisfy the prejudice prong of the Strickland test.

Defendant claims that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because, he argues, he should not have to register as a sex offender. (Doc. 67.) While the court is unclear as to how defendant claims his attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel, it appears defendant is claiming his counsel should have argued at sentencing that he should not be required to register as a sex offender. Defendant argues that the charged offense neither “involve[d] a sexual act” nor was “perpetuated against a minor.” (Id.) The court finds defendant’s arguments unpersuasive because, even if his counsel had argued that defendant should not have been required to register as a sex offender, the result of defendant’s proceeding would have been the same for two reasons: 1) defendant admitted that the offense ...


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