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Tyson v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. New York

January 27, 2017

LEONARD TYSON, JR., Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          Leonard Tyson, Jr. Pro Se Prisoner, F.C.I. Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution Inmate Mail/Parcels

          United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York Attorneys for the Respondent, Charles N. Rose, Assistant U.S. Attorney

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION & ORDER

          ARTHUR D. SPATT, United States District Judge

         On October 14, 2010, Leonard Tyson, Jr. (the “Petitioner”) pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Under the plea agreement, he waived his right to file an appeal or otherwise challenge his sentence or conviction if the Court sentenced him to 188 months or less. The Court imposed a 135-month prison sentence.

         Under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 2255, the Petitioner moves to vacate his sentence and conviction on two grounds: (1) his waiver was not made knowingly, voluntarily, and competently; and (2) his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance. The Petitioner also requests an evidentiary hearing to further develop his case. For the reasons set forth below, the Petitioner's motion is denied in its entirety.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court assumes familiarity with the facts and procedural history of this case but summarizes the relevant details below. Between January 1, 2009 and June 25, 2009, the Petitioner participated in a large-scale cocaine trafficking organization on Long Island. After his arrest, the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched his apartment and found, among other things, a Ruger .44 Magnum revolver.

         The Petitioner was indicted on July 23, 2009. (See Indict., Dkt. No. 5-1.) He was charged with four counts, including conspiracy to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b)(1)(A)(ii)(II) & 846 (“Count One”). On March 2, 2010, the grand jury returned a superseding indictment, which largely paralleled the original. (See Superseding Indict., Dkt. No. 5-2.)

         At first, the Petitioner was represented by court-appointed counsel William Wexler, Esq., who handled discovery. (See Discovery Ltrs., Case No. 2:09-cr-00515-ADS-1, Dkt. Nos. 42, 50, 55.) On December 31, 2009, the Petitioner retained Aaron M. Goldsmith, Esq. and Louis V. Fasulo, Esq. (the “trial counsel”). On June 30, 2010, they filed a motion to suppress the Ruger .44 Magnum revolver and drugs seized at the Petitioner's apartment. (See Case No. 2:09-cr-00515-ADS-1, Dkt. No. 124.) However, on October 7, 2010, the Petitioner withdrew the motion and consented to a plea agreement.

         On October 14, 2010, the Petitioner signed a plea agreement with the Government, which provided that he would plead guilty to Count One. The Government agreed to dismiss the remaining three counts, which were firearm charges, but the plea agreement did include a two- point enhancement for possession of a dangerous weapon. (Plea Agmt., Dkt. No. 5-3, ¶ 2.) The Petitioner “agree[d] not to file an appeal or otherwise challenge by petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 or any other provision the conviction or sentence in the event that the Court impose[d] a term of imprisonment of 188 months or below.” (Plea Agmt. ¶ 4.)

         On October 14, 2010, a plea hearing took place before Magistrate Judge William Wall. The following exchange occurred:

THE COURT: Have you reviewed [the plea agreement] with Mr. Fasulo and do you understand it?
DEFENDANT: Yes, your Honor.
THE COURT: And does that agreement fully and accurately reflect the agreement that you have reached with the government?
DEFENDANT: Yes, your Honor.
THE COURT: Has anyone made any promises to you as to what your sentence will be?
DEFENDANT: No, your Honor.
THE COURT: Has anyone made any promises to you that have caused you to ...

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