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Mooneyhan v. United States

November 2, 2007

SHAWN MOONEYHAN, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: R. Allan Edgar United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

Petitioner Shawn Mooneyhan has filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. [Court Doc. No. 1]. The Government opposes Mooneyhan's motion. [Court Doc. No. 9]. As stated infra, this court has concluded that a hearing is not necessary and that Mooneyhan's Section 2255 motion is without merit and will be DENIED.

I. Procedural History and Background Facts

On May 14, 2003, a United States grand jury sitting for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Chattanooga Division, returned a second superseding indictment against Mooneyhan charging him with one count of conspiring to violate 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A) and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine hydrochloride in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. The indictment alleged that seven other defendants conspired with Mooneyhan. [Court Doc. No. 74].

On August 4, 2003 Mooneyhan pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement signed with the government. [Court Doc. No. 118]. The plea agreement provided that Mooneyhan agreed "to plead guilty to Count One of the Second Superseding Indictment returned in this District charging him with a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, that is, conspiracy to commit violations of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B), i.e., to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride (powder), a Schedule II controlled substance." Id. The plea agreement provided that the parties agreed to the following description of the factual circumstances of the crimes Mooneyhan committed:

. . . defendant conspired with others in Bedford County to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine. For example, in June 2002, Agapito Fernandez distributed at least four kilograms of cocaine to Matthew Kelly. Kelly in turn gave it to defendants Seibers and Habel to weigh, repack, and hide. After Kelly was removed from the conspiracy, Seibers, Habel, Mooneyhan, and others hid the cocaine, later retrieved the cocaine, and eventually a portion of the cocaine was returned to Fernandez. Before Seibers arranged to have a portion of the cocaine returned to Fernandez, Fernandez came to a residence in Bedford County where Seibers was located to discuss with Seibers the return of the cocaine. Seibers displayed a firearm during this discussion. In general, Fernandez distributed more than five kilograms of cocaine to Kelly, which in turn Kelly gave to Seibers and Habel to handle. Before Fernandez became the source for cocaine, Chris Lamb individually supplied Seibers and Kelly (over time) with kilograms of cocaine. [Court Doc. No. 118, ¶ 11].

The plea agreement also provided that:

[t]he defendant expressly waives the right to file any motions or pleadings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on any ground, other than ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, or subsequent change in the interpretation of the law which may affect his case. Thus, the defendant knowingly, intentionally, and voluntarily waives his right to collaterally attack the plea being offered in the instant case. The defendant further acknowledges that a breach of this clause of the plea agreement (like the defendant's breach of any other clause of the plea agreement) would leave the United States free to withdraw from the plea agreement. [Court Doc. No. 118, ¶ 8].

During the rearraignment proceedings on August 4, 2003, this court asked Mooneyhan whether he understood the charges against him in the second superseding indictment. The court did acknowledge that Mooneyhan was pleading guilty to the lesser amount of 500 grams or more of cocaine, instead of the five kilograms or more stated in the second superseding indictment. Rearraignment Proceedings, Aug. 4, 2003, Vol. I, p. 1. The colloquy between the court and Mooneyhan with respect to this charge was as follows:

The Court: All right. Each of you here is charged with a conspiracy. And it's very important that you understand what a conspiracy is. Of course, if the government were to have to prove its case at trial, they'd have to prove that you all were in this conspiracy. And they'd have to prove that in effect that each of you was a part of a criminal partnership at work, if you will.

It is necessary for the government to prove, first of all, that two or more people conspired or agreed to in this case distribute cocaine hydrochloride. The government doesn't have to show that there was any kind of formal agreement, but the government would have to show that there was at least a mutual understanding between two or more people to do this.

Secondly, the government would have to show that you were intentionally involved as a member of this conspiracy, that you joined this conspiracy. That it was not an accident or mistake on your part, that you knew what you were doing. You knew what the object of the conspiracy was, that is to distribute cocaine. And you knew that it was a violation of law.

And then, finally, in this particular case with you gentlemen, the government would have to show that the quantity involved here was at least 500 grams of cocaine hydrochloride.

Do you think you understand what you're charged with, Mr. Mooneyhan?

Defendant Mooneyhan: Yes, sir.

The Court: And knowing what that is, do you still want to plead guilty?

Defendant Mooneyhan: Yes, sir.

Rearraignment Proceedings, Aug. 4, 2003, Vol. ...


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