United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
ERIC TEAGUE B.O.P. #30551-058
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Civil Action No. 6:15-cr-176
DEE D. DRELL U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
the Court is a pro se Motion to Vacate, Set Aside,
or Correct Sentence filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255
by defendant Eric Teague ("Teague"). [Rec. Doc.
71]. The Government opposes the motion. [Rec. Doc. 76]. For
reasons stated below, the motion is DENIED.
9, 2015, Special Agent Erol Catalan of Homeland Security
Investigations in Lafayette, Louisiana, was contacted by CD.,
who reported that his sixteen-year-old daughter L.D. had been
communicating via text message and email with adult male
subjects. [Rec. Doc. 56-2, p. I]. During an interview with
Agent Catalan, L.D. stated that she had received chat
requests from other users, including Teague, shortly after
becoming a member of a social networking site. Id.
L.D. saved Teague's contact information into her
cellphone. Id. They soon began talking about sex,
with Teague expressing his desire to have sex with L.D. even
after she informed him that she was sixteen years old.
Id. L.D. stated that she sent Teague photographs of
herself via email. Id. at 1-2. In January 2015, L.D.
sent a full frontal nude photo of herself via attachment in
an email to Teague. Id. at 2. She then informed him
what the attachment contained, and he directed her to send
the photograph to different phone numbers but subsequently
received it through his email. Id. A few days later,
Teague asked L.D. to send the same photograph to another one
of his phones. Id. L.D. then told Teague that she
was going to take a bath and he asked her to take a picture.
Id. She responded by taking a picture of her legs in
the water and sending it to him. Id.
Agent Catalan's affidavit this Court issued a search
warrant to Yahoo!, Inc., which yielded email messages from
Teague's account. [Rec. Doc. 76-1]. On August 12,
2015, Teague was indicted by federal grand jury in the
Western District of Louisiana for one count of receiving
child pornography. [Rec. Doc. 1]. In January 2016, Agent
Catalan sought and obtained another search warrant from this
Court to Google, Inc., authorizing a search related to
L.D.'s email account. [Rec. Docs. 22, 76-1]. After two
thwarted change of plea hearings, Teague's federal public
defender, Cristie Gibbens, withdrew from the case and
attorney Gerald Block was appointed as defense counsel. [Rec.
Docs. 34, 39].
23, 2016, the Government filed a bill of information charging
Teague with possession of child pornography. [Rec. Doc. 53].
Teague entered into a plea agreement on the same day,
pleading guilty to that charge in exchange for the
Government's promise to dismiss the receipt of child
pornography charge. [Rec. Doc. 56]. At a hearing on September
21, 2016, Teague was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of
sixty-three months and the receipt of child pornography
charge was dismissed at the government's motion. [Rec.
Docs. 63, 66].
has not filed a direct appeal. Instead, he submitted the
instant motion on December 19, 2016. [Rec. Doc. 71]. As his
sole claim for relief, he alleges that the search and/or
arrest warrants were "unlawfully drawn (issued) only on
lies told by Agent Catalan." Id. at 4. The
Government contends that this claim is subject to procedural
default based on Teague's failure to raise it on appeal.
[Rec. Doc. 76, pp. 8-9]. In his reply, Teague clarifies his
claim as being one of ineffective assistance based on the
fact that neither Gibbens nor Block filed a motion to
suppress evidence obtained as a result of these warrants.
[Rec. Doc. 79');">79');">79');">79, pp. 2-6]. He requests an evidentiary hearing
on the merits of his claim. Id. at 7. He also
appends a letter to the district judge, asking that the
communication be forwarded to an Assistant U.S. Attorney,
requesting transcripts, and complaining about his treatment
while incarcerated. Id. at 9-10.
Scope of§ 2255 Relief
federal prisoner may collaterally attack his conviction or
sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on one or more of the
following grounds: (1) "the sentence was imposed in
violation of the Constitution or laws of the United
States;" (2) "the court was without jurisdiction to
impose the sentence;" (3) "the sentence was in
excess of the maximum authorized by law;" and (4) the
sentence is "otherwise subject to collateral
attack." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a); United States v.
Cates, 952F.2d 149, 151 (5th Cir. 1992).
conviction and exhaustion or waiver of the right to appeal,
the court presumes that a defendant "stands fairly and
finally convicted." United States v. Shaid, 937
F.2d 228, 231- 32 (5th Cir. 1991) (quoting
United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 164 (1982)).
Relief under § 2255 "is reserved for transgressions
of constitutional rights and for a narrow range of injuries
that could not have been raised on direct appeal and would,
if condoned, result in a complete miscarriage of
justice." United States v. Vaughn, 955 F.2d
367, 368 (5th Cir. 1992) (citing United States v.
Capua, 656 F.2d 1033, 1037 (5th Cir. 1981)).
Furthermore, the collateral challenge process of § 2255
is no substitute for appeal. A defendant may not raise a
constitutional issue for the first time on collateral review
without showing cause and prejudice for the procedural bar,
or actual innocence. United States v. Mimms, 43 F.3d
217, 219 (5th Cir. 1995). However, this bar does not apply to
ineffective assistance of counsel claims, which may be raised
for the first time in a collateral proceeding under §
2255 regardless of whether the defendant raised the claim on
direct appeal. Massaro v. United States, 538 U.S.
500, 505-09 (2003).
Teague's claim appears to be based entirely on
ineffective assistance of counsel, a constitutional
issue. Therefore he has invoked a proper basis
for relief under § 2255 and his failure to raise the