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United States v. Ford

United States District Court, D. Kansas

December 20, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIE F. FORD, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          KATHRYN H. VRATIL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On August 26, 2011, a jury found defendant guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of cocaine base, maintaining and conspiring to maintain a drug-involved premises within 1000 feet of a school, possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base within 1000 feet of a school and use of a cell phone in causing or facilitating a drug felony. See Verdict (Doc. #572). On January 23, 2012, the Court sentenced defendant to 420 months in prison. See Judgment In A Criminal Case (Doc. #691). On May 22, 2015, the Court overruled defendant's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence By A Person In Federal Custody (Doc. #849) filed June 6, 2014. See Memorandum And Order (Doc. #889). This matter is before the Court on defendant's Motion Pursuant To Rule 60(b) Seeking To Re-Open Case And Set Aside Order Denying Relief (Doc. #950) filed November 27, 2017, which the Court construes as a second or successive petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For reasons stated below, the Court dismisses defendant's motion for lack of jurisdiction.

         Factual Background

         On July 27, 2011, a grand jury charged defendant and 11 others with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of cocaine base. See Second Superseding Indictment (Doc. #514), Count 1. The grand jury also charged defendant with conspiracy to maintain a drug-involved premises within 1000 feet of a school, possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base within 1000 feet of a school and use of a cell phone in facilitating a drug felony. See id., Counts 4, 5, 12.

         On direct appeal, the Tenth Circuit summarized the trial testimony as follows:

Ford and others used three houses in Kansas City, Kansas, for selling and storing drugs. The main drug house, located at 2632 North 20th Street, known as “the Spot, ” sold drugs day and night. Drugs were also sold from two other houses near the Spot. In addition to the three houses used for selling drugs, Ford regularly stored drugs intended for sale at the Spot at his parents' house nearby. He brought drugs from his parents' house to the Spot numerous times at coconspirator Andrew Price's request.
Following an extensive investigation of the drug trafficking operation, on October 13, 2010, law-enforcement officials made coordinated arrests of the participants and searches of the houses used for selling drugs. As FBI agents entered the Spot, several coconspirators ran out the back door. Two of them carried firearms and three carried large amounts of cash. Ford was not among those arrested at the Spot. A search of the Spot produced video cameras and a monitor, 27.8 grams of crack, 79.8 grams of marijuana, an electronic scale, packaging materials, and cell phones. Searches of the other drug houses also produced large amounts of cocaine and crack.
Ford was charged in a superseding indictment with conspiring to distribute and distributing cocaine and crack between August 29, 2007 and October 13, 2010, and other charges. He was indicted with seventeen others, and stood trial with codefendants Marcus L. Quinn and Mark A. Brooks pursuant to a second superseding indictment. Four other codefendants entered guilty pleas and testified at the trial: LaVaughn “Jason” Brown, Polly Smith, Adrian Melendez, and Daniel Cardenas Garcia.
The testimony of Brown and Smith established that the persons permitted to sell drugs from the Spot were part of an “inner circle” that included Ford. Although Antonio Quinn was the main person who decided who could sell from the Spot, all members of the inner circle had some say in the matter. Brown testified that the inner-circle members were “all the same, ” meaning a buyer could get drugs from him or any of the others. R. Vol. 2 at 864-65. The inner circle contributed to pay the bills at the Spot. Some members of the conspiracy had regular jobs, but Ford did not.
Several witnesses placed Ford at the Spot on a regular, if not constant, basis. One witness testified that she had purchased crack from him more than 25 times. Several controlled drug buys were completed at the Spot; one of them from Ford. The government's evidence included transcripts of numerous telephone calls between coconspirators recorded from wire intercepts on [Antonio] Quinn's telephone. During calls between [Antonio] Quinn and Ford, the two discussed other conspirators and the drug business. In particular, they used the conspiracy's code words, such as “two-door” and “four-door, ” to describe drug quantities. During one call, Ford advised [Antonio] Quinn that the “kick-in boys [meaning SWAT teams] have been riding, ” id. at 1276, and [Antonio] Quinn asked who was “up there, ” to which Ford responded by naming two other coconspirators[] id. Furthermore, other coconspirators referred to Ford in phone calls discussing the drug trafficking organization.
Testifying coconspirator Adrian Melendez stated that he supplied cocaine to [Antonio] Quinn. He had observed [Antonio] Quinn hand to Ford cocaine that he had supplied to Quinn. Melendez saw [Antonio] Quinn give Ford cocaine “six, seven times.” Id. at 1935. In addition, coconspirator Daniel Cardenas Garcia testified that [Antonio] Quinn told him that he supplied Ford cocaine, and that [Antonio] Quinn sometimes delayed paying Garcia because he was awaiting payment from others, including Ford, before paying Garcia.

Order And Judgment (Doc. #836) filed May 20, 2013 at 2-4 (footnote omitted).

         On August 26, 2011, a jury found defendant guilty on each count. See Verdict (Doc. #572). Defendant's total offense level was 42 with a criminal history category VI, resulting in a sentencing range of 360 months to life in prison. On January 23, 2012, the Court sentenced defendant to 420 months in prison. See Judgment In A Criminal Case (Doc. #691). Defendant appealed his conviction on Count 1, and his sentence, to the Tenth Circuit. Order And Judgment (Doc. #836) at 2. The Tenth Circuit affirmed. Id.

         On June 6, 2014, defendant filed a motion to vacate his sentence under Section 2255. Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. #849). Defendant alleged ineffective assistance because (1) counsel did not object to the indictment as multiplicitous, (2) counsel did not object at trial or sentencing to the failure of the indictment to set forth a specific drug type and quantity; (3) counsel did not effectively object to defendant's career offender sentence enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1; and (4) counsel did not raise the above issues on appeal. Id. Although defendant filed his Section 2255 petition and its accompanying memoranda pro se, he now claims that an “inmate legal assistant” represented him ...


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