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Maxfield v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville

December 2, 2016




         Patrick Mullane Maxfield (“petitioner” or “Maxfield”), a federal prisoner, has filed a “Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence By A Person In Federal Custody, ” [Doc. 100][1]. The United States has responded in opposition, [Doc. 106], and petitioner has replied, [Doc. 111]. The matter is, therefore, ripe for disposition. The Court has determined that the files and records in the case conclusively establish that Maxfield is not entitled to relief under § 2255 and no evidentiary hearing is necessary. For the reasons which follow, petitioner's motion will be DENIED and the case DISMISSED.

         I. Procedural and Factual Background

         Maxfield and co-defendant, April Bell (“Bell”), were indicted by a federal grand jury on September 11, 2012, and charged with conspiring to produce child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2251(a) and (e) (Count One), and conspiracy to transport, distribute, and receive child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(1), (a)(2), and (b)(1) (Count Three). Maxfield was charged in Count Five with receipt of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(1) and (a)(2). Maxfield was not charged in counts two and four of the indictment.

         After the appearance of retained counsel and considerable motion practice, Maxfield filed a notice of intent to plead guilty on April 18, 2013, [Doc. 48], [2] and a negotiated plea agreement was filed with the Court on April 23, 2013, [Doc. 50]. Pursuant to the plea agreement, petitioner pled guilty on the same day to Count Five, the knowing receipt of child pornography. [Doc. 51]. In the plea agreement made pursuant to Rule 11(c)(1)(C) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the parties agreed that a term of “sixty months imprisonment is the appropriate term of imprisonment for disposition of this case, ” along with any lawful term of supervised release. [Doc. 50, at ¶ 6]. The plea agreement also contained a waiver of petitioner's right to file a direct appeal as long as his sentence was within “the sentencing guideline range or any applicable mandatory minimum (whichever is greater) as determined by the district court, ” and his right to collaterally attack his conviction or sentence, except for claims of ineffective assistance of counsel or prosecutorial misconduct. [Id. at ¶ 9].

         The Court ordered a presentence investigation report (“PSR”) and scheduled a sentencing hearing for September 16, 2013. Petitioner faced a statutory mandatory minimum of five years of imprisonment to a maximum term of 20 years. The PSR established his guideline range for imprisonment at 78 to 97 months, [PSR, ¶¶ 87, 88], and a range of five years to life on supervised release. [Id. at ¶ 92]. At sentencing on September 16, 2013, the Court adopted the PSR, accepted the Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement, and sentenced petitioner to a 60-month term of imprisonment, imposed a lifetime term of supervised release, ordered restitution in the amount of $6, 910.00, and imposed a $100.00 mandatory assessment. Among other conditions of supervised release, the Court ordered that petitioner have no contact with his co-defendant Bell. [Docs. 66, 83]. Judgment was entered on September 25, 2013, [Doc. 67].

         Maxfield filed a pro se notice of appeal on September 26, 2013, [Doc. 68]. The Sixth Circuit granted the government's motion to dismiss the appeal on the basis of the appellate-waiver provisions of petitioner's plea agreement on April 23, 2014, but also found that “the district court neither abused its discretion nor committed plain error in imposing the [no-contact] condition because the condition addresses a valid concern regarding the safety and welfare of Bell.”[3] [Doc. 86]. Petitioner's petition for a writ of certiorari was denied by the United States Supreme Court on July 27, 2014. [Doc. 87]. The instant § 2255 motion was then timely filed on July 17, 2015.

         Maxfield's plea agreement contained the following stipulated statement of facts:

a) The defendant met codefendant April Nicole Bell in November 2008 via an online internet chatroom. At that time, defendant Maxfield resided in El Paso County, Colorado and Bell resided in Johnson County, Tennessee. This relationship continued until the defendant and Bell were arrested on the instant charges in September 2012.
b) The relationship between defendant and Bell progressed and Bell traveled from the Eastern District of Tennessee to defendant's home at 1145 Modell Drive, Colorado Springs, in El Paso County, Colorado. The defendant and Bell became intimate. The defendant and Bell periodically met at defendant's home. When they were not physically together, the defendant and Bell communicated with each other on a regular basis via telephones, electronic mail, text messaging, instant messaging, and other means of electronic communications. The parties agree that these communications traveled in interstate commerce from the Eastern District of Tennessee to the District of Colorado and vice-versa.
c) At all relevant times, Bell operated a personal computer from her home in the Eastern District of Tennessee, with access to the internet provided by Sprint, an internet service provider.
d) From on or about August 1, 2009 to on or about October 31, 2009, Bell downloaded seven images of child pornography onto her personal computer located at 394 Old Butler Road, Apartment B, Mountain City, Johnson County in the Eastern District of Tennessee. Bell provided the seven images of child pornography to defendant by remotely accessing defendant's computer and storing these images on defendant's computer. At the time Bell transmitted these images to defendant's computer, the defendant knew that the seven images would be transported from the Eastern District of Tennessee to Colorado.
e) The parties agree that between August 1, 2009 and February 1, 2011, defendant knowingly received the seven images of child pornography sent from Bell's computer. The parties agree that defendant knowingly received the seven images of child pornography on his computer contemporaneously with these events and that the defendant directed Bell to send the seven images of child pornography to him.
f) The parties agree that defendant knowingly received seven images of child pornography from April Nicole Bell between August 1, 2009 and February 1, 2011 via the internet, which is a means of interstate commerce.
g) The parties agree that the seven distributed images depict an actual minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2256(2)(A)(v) to include the lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a minor.
h) The defendant admits that at the time he received the seven images of child pornography, he was aware of their sexually explicit nature and character and he was aware that they depict an actual minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including the lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a minor.
i) The parties agree that defendant received the seven images of child pornography transported in interstate commerce from the Eastern District of Tennessee to the District of Colorado.

[Doc. 50, ¶¶ 4(a) - 4(i)]. The PSR contained the following unobjected to statement of additional facts:

The investigation in this case began in February of 2011, when a hospital health care worker in Colorado Springs, Colorado, reported that co-defendant Bell appeared to be a victim of violent domestic abuse. The El Paso County, Colorado, Sheriff's Office interviewed Bell, who admitted that the numerous bruises, lacerations, and injuries she received had been inflicted by her boyfriend and co-defendant, Patrick Maxfield.
Co-defendant Bell reported that she was a resident of Johnson County, Tennessee, who had met the defendant via an adult online chat room in late 2008/early 2009. The relationship eventually became sexual, after the defendant financed Bell's trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado. For approximately two years (2009-2011), Bell periodically flew from east Tennessee to Colorado Springs, where she cohabitated with the defendant for 10 to 14 days each time. They engaged in consensual sexual intercourse during these visits.
During 2010, it appeared the relationship evolved into the classical battered wife syndrome. The defendant found fault with Bell's behavior, beat her, she apologized and accepted punishment from him in the form of more beatings and written “improvement contracts.” The defendant allegedly beat Bell with a 2-inch wooden dowel, an aluminum baseball bat, a crowbar, and a fire extinguisher. He kept separate sets of work gloves in his apartment, labeled for different types of beatings he inflicted on Bell (for example, this is for the bitch when she doesn't do her chores). The defendant left written notes to Bell, and she signed other written notes as, “MWPS, ” which is an acronym for “Most Worthless Piece of Shit.”
Co-defendant Bell is the mother of [AB], whose date of birth is ___, ___, 2004. Bell left [AB] in the custody of her parents when she visited the defendant in Colorado.
Based on Bell's interview, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office obtained a state court search warrant to search the defendant's apartment in Colorado Springs for the instruments of domestic violence. They executed the first search warrant on February 7, 2011, and during the course of the search, they found the first of multiple “contracts” between Bell and the defendant which were suggestive of extreme violence. The Sheriff's Office obtained a second search warrant for indicia of ownership, indicia of occupancy, indicia of abuse, documents bearing evidence of physiological or physical abuse, which was executed on February 7, 2011. During the course of the second search warrant, the officers found inter alia, a copy of the birth certificate and identification card for [AB] and a deeply disturbing document in a file cabinet, in a folder labeled “April Bell.” The document provided as follows.
“Dear Diary, I, April Bell, am hereby agreeing to repay Patrick for the full amount of an airline ticket for [my daughter, AB] to fly out to Colorado Springs to visit. The purpose of this visit is so Patrick can f--kher little girl p---y and cum her vagina. I also give Patrick full permission to Patrick to cum in her mouth while [AB] is sucking Pat's big c--k. This visit in December 2009 is intended solely for the purpose of Patrick getting his jollies off with [AB]. Patrick has full permission to bend [AB] over and F--k her doggystyle, and to bounce [AB] off his c--k! I give permission for Patrick to urinate in [AB's] vagina, and insert various objects into her ass and vagina - penetrating her and getting [AB] off. I further agree to hold Patrick and/or [AB] up in case either lose consciousness or pass out from too much excitement. Patrick is hereby Released from all Liability. Patrick is not responsible for any loss or damages to [AB] that may result from any of the above listed actions. The above list is not all inclusive, and other things can and will result - as long as the end results is Patrick cuming all over/or in [AB].
The document was dated October 23, 2009, and signed with Bell's signature and printed name, along with the title “Parent of [AB].” Graphic stick figures are included as well as sexual connotations for the figures. After finding this document, the officers suspended their search and obtained and executed a third search warrant. Items seized included the ...

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