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United States v. Brooks

United States District Court, Third Circuit

November 12, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
FAITH BROOKS, Defendant

MEMORANDUM

WILLIAM W. CALDWELL, District Judge.

I. Introduction

We are considering the pro se defendant, Faith Brooks's, amended motion under 28 U.S.C. ยง 2255 to vacate her conviction and sentence. We examine the motion for legal sufficiency pursuant to Rule 4(b) of the rules governing section 2255 proceedings.

II. Background

A jury convicted Defendant of production of child pornography and possession of child pornography. She was sentenced to 240 months' imprisonment on the first offense and 120 months' imprisonment on the second, to be served concurrently. The Third Circuit rejected her direct appeal, which raised only claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. The court of appeals said the claims should be raised in collateral proceedings under section 2255. United States v. Brooks, 480 F.App'x 675, 678 (3d Cir. 2012)(nonprecedential).

In May 2013, Defendant filed her original 2255 motion, raising the following claims of trial-counsel ineffectiveness:

1. Counsel was unprepared for trial.
2. Counsel was un-attentive during trial, text messaging with girlfriend.
3. Counsel did not call any of the witnesses identified during jury selection.
4. Counsel's opening was 277 words. Counsel's entire defense was 141 words. Counsel's closing statement was 894 words.
5. Counsel failed to present any of the defenses discussed with Petitioner.

(Doc. 124, 2255 motion, ECF p. 4)(numbering added).

By memorandum and order of September 30, 2013, we dismissed claims 1 through 3 and 5 for being vague and conclusory, noting that such allegations are insufficient for a section 2255 motion. United States v. Thomas, 221 F.2d 430, 437 (3d Cir. 2000); United States v. Robinson, 467 F.App'x 100, 102 (3d Cir. 2012) (nonprecedential). See also Rule 2(b)(2) of the rules governing section 2255 proceedings ("[t]he motion must... "state the facts supporting each ground" for relief). On the fourth claim, we rejected it on the merits, because as noted by the Third Circuit on Defendant's direct appeal, "[e]ffectiveness of counsel may not be judged by the number of words counsel used." Brooks, supra, 480 F.App'x at 678.

We granted Defendant leave to file an amended 2255 motion so that she could set forth her vague claims with sufficient factual specificity. We also granted her leave to raise any other claims she has against counsel's performance in his opening, ...


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