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United States v. Randall

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

April 11, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
RANDY RANDALL (08) Civil No. 5:15-CV-2307

          HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

          MEMORANDUM RULING & ORDER

          DONALD E. WALTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [Doc. #512], filed by defendant Randy L. Randall (“Randall”). For the following reasons, the motion is DENIED.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         On December 14, 2011, a grand jury in the Western District of Louisiana returned a 34-count indictment charging thirteen defendants, including Randall, with various drug and firearm offenses. [Doc. #1]. Randall was named in four counts. Attorney G. Warren Thornell (“Mr. Thornell”) was appointed to represent Randall. [Doc. #125]. On April 11, 2012, with the advice of Mr. Thornell and pursuant to a plea agreement, Randall pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine (Count 1), in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Count 24), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1). [Docs.

         According to the signed factual basis attached to the plea agreement, Randall admitted to the following facts:

Title III wiretaps of co-defendant Darien Reliford's cell phone w[ere] authorized by this Court, from September, 2011, to November 15, 2011, based on an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The wiretaps revealed that Darien Reliford was involved in cocaine trafficking with the co-defendants in this indictment. Darien Reliford also sold the cocaine himself.
Reliford was observed by the DEA to travel to an apartment, number 201, located at 1620 Fullerton St., Shreveport, LA, three times before he made three of his distributions of cocaine. The DEA suspected the apartment to be a stash place for Reliford's cocaine. The investigation has subsequently revealed that that inference was correct. The one-bedroom apartment was listed in the name of this Defendant.
On November 15, 2011, the DEA executed a federal search warrant at that apartment, and the Defendant was apprehended inside. 148.8 net grams of powder cocaine, and 35.2 net grams of crack cocaine were seized in the bedroom closet, as well as a plate with cocaine residue and a razor from under the bed in which the Defendant was sleeping. A loaded shotgun was also seized from the bedroom closet alongside the packaged cocaine. The shotgun is a Remington 870, 12 gauge shotgun.

[Doc. #227-2, pp. 1-2]. Randall further admitted that the above facts were sufficient to support both the conspiracy and the firearm charges, and that the “overall scope” of the drug conspiracy “involved 5 kilograms and more” of cocaine. Id. at p. 2.

         Pursuant to the plea agreement, Randall affirmed that he “understands and agrees that the maximum punishment on Count 1 is a term of imprisonment of NOT LESS than 10 years nor more than Life imprisonment, a fine of not more than $10, 000, 000 or both (pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)(ii))[.]” [Doc. #227, p. 2 (emphasis in original)]. As to Count 24, the plea agreement stated that “the maximum punishment . . . is a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years, which shall run consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed on Count 1.Id. (emphasis in original).

         During the April 11, 2012, change of plea hearing, pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Court addressed Randall and engaged in the following exchange:

THE COURT: Do you understand what's going on?
THE DEFENDANT: Yeah. I'm pleading out to the conspiracy and the gun charge.
THE COURT: The maximum sentence is, on Count 1, not less than 10 years nor more than life, a fine of $10 million, or both, supervised release of not less than 5 years; and on Count 24, it's not less than 5 years, which will run consecutively to any term of imprisonment in Count 1, supervised release of an additional 2 to 3 years, and a special assessment to the Crime Victim Fund of $200. . . .
Is that what you understood, Mr. ...

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