United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Kevin
Campbell's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his
sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Dkt. No. 14).
Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and
the relevant record, the Court hereby DENIES the motion for
the reasons explained herein.
February 2017, Petitioner pled guilty to one count of
distribution of controlled substances. United States v.
Campbell, CR17-0025-JCC, Dkt. No. 9 (W.D. Wash. 2017).
As part of his plea agreement, Petitioner admitted that he
sold drugs through the website Silk Road to dozens of
clients, including J.M. Id. at 5. Petitioner
admitted this included the sale of China White heroin, which
he sold to J.M. in 2013. Id. Petitioner also
admitted that J.M. presumably ingested the drugs that
Petitioner sold him, and subsequently died of a drug
overdose. Id. at 5-6. As part of his plea agreement,
Petitioner agreed to waive all rights to directly appeal the
sentence imposed by the Court, including any fine,
restitution order, probation or supervised release condition,
or forfeiture order. Id. at 11-12. The waiver
includes any right to bring a collateral attack against the
conviction and sentence that he received, except as it may
relate to ineffective assistance of counsel. Id.
August 2017, the Court sentenced Petitioner to 72 months in
prison. Campbell, CR17-0025-JCC, Dkt. No. 36. Over
the objection of Petitioner's former counsel, Jennifer
Wellman, the Court found that, for the purpose of sentencing
considerations, the drugs Petitioner sold J.M. caused his
death. See Campbell, CR17-0025-JCC, Dkt. No. 37;
(See also Dkt. No. 16-3 at 26.) Following his
sentencing, Petitioner filed a notice of appeal in the Ninth
Circuit. Campbell, CR17-0025-JCC, Dkt. No. 41. The
grounds for Petitioner's appeal are not known to the
Court. Petitioner was subsequently granted a substitution of
counsel by the Ninth Circuit, and attorney Eric Levin took
over Petitioner's case. Campbell, CR17-0025-JCC,
Dkt. No. 45. Subsequently, Petitioner voluntarily withdrew
his appeal, and the same day filed a motion to withdraw his
guilty plea in this Court, which was denied.
Campbell, CR17-0025-JCC, Dkt. Nos. 50, 54.
Petitioner now brings what the Court considers to be his
first petition for habeas corpus relief. (Dkt. No. 14.)
state a cognizable claim under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, a
petitioner must assert that he or she is in custody in
violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States,
that the district court lacked jurisdiction, that the
sentence exceeded the maximum allowed by law, or that the
sentence is otherwise subject to collateral attack. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(a). “Unless the motion and the files and
records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is
entitled to no relief, the court shall grant a prompt hearing
thereon.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). A claim must be
“so palpably incredible or patently frivolous as to
warrant summary dismissal” in order to justify the
refusal of an evidentiary hearing. United States v.
Leonti, 326 F.3d 1111, 1116 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting
United States v. Schaflander, 743 F.2d 714, 717 (9th
Cir. 1984)). Plaintiff alleges three separate grounds for
relief: (1) Petitioner's plea was not intelligently
entered into because he was coerced into the plea by Ms.
Wellman's failure to investigate the cause of J.M.'s
death; (2) Mr. Levin rendered ineffective assistance of
counsel by withdrawing Petitioner's appeal to the Ninth
Circuit; and (3) the conditions of his supervised release are
unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.
Knowing and Intelligent Plea
asserts that he did not enter into his plea intelligently
because he was coerced into entering into the plea. (Dkt. No.
14 at 4.) Petitioner alleges that this coercion was based on
Ms. Wellman's inadequate assistance of counsel because of
her failure to conduct an adequate investigation into
J.M.'s cause of death. (Id.) A plea is not
entered into intelligently “if the defendant is without
the information necessary to assess intelligently the
advantages and disadvantages of a trial as compared with
those attending a plea of guilty.” United States v.
Hernandez, 203 F.3d 614, 619 (9th Cir. 2000).
Petitioner was given substantial information regarding
J.M.'s death when deciding whether to enter into a plea
agreement. Ms. Wellman hired an expert pathologist to
independently review the circumstances of J.M.'s death.
Campbell, CR17-0025-JCC, Dkt. No. 29 at 19-24. This
expert explicitly mentioned the chain of custody concern that
Petitioner mentions in his petition. (Id. at 20-21.)
Petitioner also had access to J.M.'s autopsy records,
toxicology reports, and the findings of other experts who
conducted an examination into J.M.'s death. See
Campbell, CR17-0025-JCC, Dkt. Nos. 28, 29. Petitioner
had the necessary information to assess the strengths and
weaknesses of the Government's case for proving that the
drugs Petitioner sold J.M. caused J.M.'s death. With this
information, Petitioner ultimately decided to enter into a
plea agreement to avoid being charged with the sentencing
enhancement that his sale of drugs to J.M. caused J.M.'s
death. Campbell, CR17-0025-JCC, Dkt. No. 9. When
asked at his plea hearing whether he had entered into his
plea agreement intelligently, Petitioner answered that he
did. (Dkt. No. 16-2 at 19.) When asked at his plea hearing
whether he had the information necessary to intelligently
enter into his plea, Petitioner answered that he did.
(Id. at 18-19.) And when asked if he had an
additional questions for Ms. Wellman or any need for
additional information, he answered that he did not.
(Id.) For these reasons, the Court finds that
Petitioner's plea was entered intelligently, and DENIES
Petitioner's motion for relief on this ground.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Ineffective assistance of trial counsel
Petitioner characterizes his first ground for relief as
unintelligently entering into his plea, the Court also
analyzes Petitioner's claim as one for ineffective
assistance of counsel. (See Dkt. No. 14.) Petitioner
claims that Ms. Wellman provided ineffective assistance of
counsel by failing to fully investigate the cause of
J.M.'s death. (Id. at 4.) In order to show
ineffective assistance of counsel, Petitioner must prove
that: (1) counsel's performance was professionally
unreasonable, and (2) any ...