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United States v. Mornan

June 26, 2008

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
CHRISTOPHER MORNAN



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

I. Background

Before the court is a motion filed by Defendant pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The Government has filed a response to which Defendant has replied. On April 4, 2008, a hearing was held on two issues raised in the motion as well as the presentation of oral argument on issues raised in Defendant's reply brief. The procedural history of this case is adequately set forth in the briefs of the parties and will not be repeated herein.

Defendant sets out four broad categories in which he claims that his counsel was ineffective: (1) at trial; (2) on direct appeal; (3) at sentencing; and (4) failure to discuss plea ramifications. The Government identified each claim in its response and are paraphrased as follows:

1. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not presenting evidence regarding the outcome of the Canadian prosecution of coconspirator Leslie Card.

2. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to investigate the purposed lack of investigative evidence from Canadian authorities implicating Defendant in the offense.

3. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not presenting evidence that Jeff Bruyea was purportedly a real person having no ties to Defendant and targeted by Canadian authorities.

4. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not presenting evidence that Defendant ostensibly was engaged in a legitimate business known as "Carousel Multi-Snacks."

5. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by purportedly not cross-examining extensively the witnesses whose testimony was presented by video link, nor by not insisting upon their live presence at the trial.

6. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not objecting on hearsay grounds to testimony by the case agent regarding information provided him by a Florida newspaper concerning contact information for the source of an advertisement for Crown Financing.

7. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not objecting on hearsay grounds to Canadian fraud investigator Dermot Jennings's testimony regarding several government exhibits admitted without formal authentication pursuant to paragraphs 10, 11 and 12 of the court's practice order.

8. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not objecting on hearsay grounds to a non-responsive answer by victim Angela Routian regarding her telephone call to the newspaper that ran one of Defendant's advertisements.

9. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not objecting on hearsay grounds to testimony of York Newspaper Company billing supervisor Wanda Wise that her newspaper discontinued Defendant's advertisement because a customer complained that the advertisement was fraudulent.

10. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not objecting on hearsay grounds to Postal Inspector Michael Hartman's summary testimony recounting statements Defendant made to Toronto police at the time of the June 23, 1998 search, which statements had already been admitted into evidence as part of Government Exhibit 25.

11. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by purportedly not objecting on hearsay grounds to the use of Althea Burton's sworn deposition, when in fact counsel did object, and where the court permitted use of prior inconsistent statements contained in the deposition under Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(1)(A), and the Third Circuit upheld the court's ruling in Defendant's first appeal.

12. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not objecting to Inspector Hartman's testimony as a summary witness, and appellate counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not asserting this as error on appeal.

13. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not objecting to purported lack of venue, where the 12 victims of Defendant's telemarketing fraud named in the superseding indictment resided in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, were drawn in to the fraudulent scheme by advertisements placed in Middle District newspapers, and forwarded their advance fee payments by mail or wire from their residences in the Middle District.

14. Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by purportedly refusing to allow Defendant to testify.

15. Appellate counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not asserting on appeal that the prosecution engaged in purported misconduct consisting of obtaining fingerprints and a signature from Defendant without counsel ...


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