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United States v. Maweu

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

September 12, 2019





         Before the Court is Petitioner Brian Musomba Maweu's (“Maweu”) pro se Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Record Document 870). Maweu seeks to have his sentence corrected on the grounds of concealment of evidence of his alleged child molestation activities in Kenya and ineffective assistance of counsel. For the reasons discussed herein, Maweu's § 2255 Motion is DENIED.


         Maweu's prosecution centered around his involvement in Dreamboard, which was a membership-only internet forum created to facilitate the distribution of child pornography. See Record Document 824-2. Maweu became a member of Dreamboard on January 18, 2009. As a member, Maweu posted 121 images or files, 34 of which were posted in an exclusive section on the site dedicated to “homemade material.” See id. In addition, Maweu made multiple posts advertising the distribution of child pornography, and he also paid the fees required to maintain the bulletin board on the website. See id.

         In addition to his participation in Dreamboard, Maweu administered a separate online forum entitled “My African Girls.” See Record Document 890 at 4. The forum advertised photos and videos of Maweu molesting Kenyan children. Patrons of the “My African Girls” forum could request custom videos featuring specific girls engaged in specified sexual acts. See id. at 5.

         On November 9, 2011, a federal grand jury filed charges in a fourth Superseding Indictment against Maweu and 27 other co-defendants. See Record Document 506. The indictment alleged four counts against Maweu including: (1) engaging in a child exploitation enterprise; (2) conspiring to advertise the distribution of child pornography; (3) conspiring to distribute child pornography; and (4) one count of forfeiture. See id.

         On April 9, 2015, Maweu plead guilty to Count One of the indictment-engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. See Record Document 822. On September 28, 2015, the Court sentenced him to life in prison with a lifetime term of supervised release. See Record Document 838. Maweu appealed his sentence. See Record Document 839. On August 18, 2016, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his sentence. See Record Document 869. On September 8, 2016, Maweu filed the instant § 2255 Motion. See Record Documents 870 and 872. The Government answered the motion on November 16, 2016. See Record Document 890. Maweu replied to the Government's answer on December 22, 2016. See Record Document 895.[1]


         I. Legal Standard

         A. Section 2255

         The federal habeas corpus remedy is contained in 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which provides that a prisoner serving a federal sentence may make a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence within a year after his conviction has become final. Review under § 2255 is limited to four 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 exceeds the statutory maximum sentence; or (4) the sentence is otherwise subject to collateral attack. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a).

         After accepting a guilty plea and exhaustion of a defendant's right to appeal, the Court is “entitled to presume that the 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, 102 S.Ct. 1584, 1592 (1982). As explained by the Supreme Court, “our trial and appellate procedures are not so unreliable that we may not afford their completed operation any binding effect beyond the next in a series of endless postconviction collateral attacks . . . to the contrary, a final judgment commands respect.” Frady, 456 U.S. at 164-65, 102 S.Ct. at 1593.

         Consequently, a § 2255 motions is to be used sparingly as a defendant can only challenge a final conviction on constitutional or jurisdictional issues. See Shaid, 937 F.2d at 232. Section 2255 motions are “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) (citations omitted). Furthermore, ...

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