United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is the Motion to Vacate under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 (Doc. 372) and related motions
filed by Petitioner, Almond J. Richardson. A hearing
is not necessary because "the files and records of the
case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no
relief." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). For the following
reasons, Petitioner's motion is DENIED.
noted by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit, the relevant factual and procedural history of this
case are as follows:
In May 2007, Garfen Neville, a confidential informant,
contacted the Narcotics Division of the East Baton Rouge
Sheriffs Office to offer information about local narcotics
trafficking. Neville reported that an individual, later
identified as . . . Almond Richardson, was selling narcotics
out of his apartment as well as his business, a store called
Just 4 U Fashion.
On May 17, 2007, the officers arranged a controlled narcotics
purchase between Neville and Richardson at Richardson's
. . .
A federal grand jury indicted Richardson on
charges of distribution of crack cocaine, possession of a
firearm by a convicted felon, manufacture of marijuana,
possession of marijuana, distribution of ecstasy, and
possession of ecstasy with intent to distribute. Four days
before the scheduled trial date, Richardson moved to
represent himself. The district court denied Richardson's
motion to proceed pro se, and the case proceeded to trial
with Richardson represented by retained counsel Steven Moore.
All of the Government's witnesses, including Neville,
were cross-examined by Moore. Moore specifically questioned
Neville about his motives for cooperating with the police,
his past arrests and convictions for narcotics-related and
violent offenses, and his relationship with Richardson.
. . . .
Richardson appealed his conviction, arguing that the district
court erred by denying (1) his motions to suppress, (2) his
motion for a Franks hearing to present evidence
contesting the veracity of the statements in the
search-warrant affidavit, and (3) his motion to proceed pro
se. United States v. Richardson [Richardson I], 478
Fed.Appx. 82, 83 (5th Cir. 2012) (per curiam). A panel of
this Court found no error in the district court's rulings
on the motions to suppress and the motion for a
Franks hearing, but it concluded that the district
court had violated Richardson's Sixth Amendment right of
self-representation. Id. at 92. Accordingly, the
panel vacated Richardson's conviction and sentence and
remanded for further proceedings, noting that its disposition
of all motions presented to the district court before
Richardson invoked his right of self-representation would be
controlling on remand. Id. at 92 & n.13.
Following remand, the district court accepted
Richardson's waiver of his right to counsel and, on the
Government's motion, dismissed two counts from the
indictment. Richardson, proceeding pro se with standby
counsel, was tried for distribution of ecstasy, possession of
ecstasy with intent to distribute, and possession of
. . . .
. . . . The jury ultimately found Richardson guilty on all
At sentencing, the PSR again assigned a total offense level
of 32 and a Guidelines range of 210 to 262 months'
imprisonment, and again applied the career-offender
enhancement based in part on Richardson's 1999 conviction
for armed robbery. Richardson again objected to the
career-offender enhancement but now argued that his guilty
plea was involuntary. He could not, however, provide any
records to support this claim, as the relevant court records,
he said, likely had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The
probation office disagreed with Richardson, asserting that it
had obtained records supporting the validity of the
conviction, "including a charging instrument, waiver of
rights form, electronic sentencing minutes, and Louisiana
Department of Public Safety and Corrections documents."
The district court overruled Richardson's objection and
sentenced him to a term of 210 months' imprisonment and
five years of supervised release.
United States v. Richardson (Richardson II), 781
F.3d 237, 239-42 (5th Cir. 2015) (footnotes omitted). At his
second appeal, petitioner claimed that the Court erred by
admitting the prior testimony of a witness who was deceased
at the time of the second trial, denying a mistrial based on
testimony that Petitioner was an informant, and applying the
career offender enhancement at sentencing. Id. at
242. The Court of Appeals upheld Petitioner's conviction.
Id. at 250.
Petitioner filed an application for writ of habeas corpus,
alleging the following points of error: (1) prosecutorial
misconduct, and (2) an unconstitutional sentence. (Doc. 372-1
at pp. 4-5, 17-18).