United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
10, 2013, a grand jury in the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania returned an indictment charging Defendant
Shareem Moore with one count of possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon, in violation of Title 18 of the United
States Code, Section 922(g)(1). On March 31, 2014, Mr. Moore
pleaded guilty to the only count of the indictment pursuant
to a plea agreement under Rule 11(c)(1)(C) of the Federal
Rules of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C). On October 2, 2014,
Mr. Moore was sentenced to seventy-two months'
imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised release, and a
$100 special assessment. Mr. Moore did not appeal. He filed a
motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set
aside, or correct sentence, alleging claims of
ineffectiveness of counsel. The government responded. For the
following reasons, I will deny the motion in its entirety
without an evidentiary hearing.
September 14, 2012, police officers responded to a radio call
of a person with a gun in the area of 5500 Spruce Street,
Philadelphia. Police officers Jeremy Olesik and Ronald Green
observed Mr. Moore, who fit the description in the radio
call, walking westbound with another individual on the 5500
block of Spruce Street. The officers were on a plain-clothes
burglary detail, driving eastbound on Spruce Street in an
unmarked car. As Mr. Moore walked in the direction of the
officers, Officer Green, who was wearing a ballistic vest and
police badge, exited the vehicle. Mr. Moore looked in the
direction of Officer Green, and fled in the opposite
direction. Officer Green pursued Mr. Moore on foot, while
Officer Olesik pursued him in their vehicle. Both officers
observed Mr. Moore remove a black firearm from his waistband.
Mr. Moore ran northbound across Spruce Street to the 200
block of South Allison Street. As Mr. Moore cut across the
street, Officer Olesik was forced to swerve to avoid hitting
him, which caused Officer Olesik's vehicle to collide
with another police vehicle. As Mr. Moore continued to flee,
Officers Olesik and Green observed Mr. Moore throw the
firearm into a vacant lot on the corner of Allison Street,
and run behind a van which was parked a short distance away.
Officer Green found Mr. Moore lying beside the van, and
directed him to show his hands. When Mr. Moore refused to do
so, Officer Green and other officers pulled Mr. Moore away
from the van and placed him in handcuffs. Officer Robert
Campbell recovered the Smith and Wesson .40 caliber pistol.
The firearm was loaded with fourteen rounds in the magazine,
and an additional round in the chamber. A police check of the
firearm showed that it had been reported as stolen, and that
it was not manufactured in Pennsylvania. At the time of his
arrest, Mr. Moore had previously been convicted of a crime
punishable by more than one year in prison.
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 are the presumptive means
by which federal prisoners can challenge their convictions or
sentences that are allegedly in violation of the
Constitution.” Okereke v. United States, 307
F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002). Section 2255 permits a prisoner
sentenced by a federal court to move the court that imposed
the sentence to “vacate, set aside, or correct the
sentence” where: (1) the sentence was imposed in
violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States;
(2) the court was without jurisdiction to impose such
sentence; (3) the sentence was in excess of the maximum
authorized by law; or (4) the sentence is otherwise subject
to collateral attack. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a).
2255(b) provides the procedure for reviewing the motion:
Unless the motion and the files and records of the case
conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief,
the court shall cause notice thereof to be served upon the
United States attorney, grant a prompt hearing thereon,
determine the issues and make findings of fact and
conclusions of law with respect thereto. If the court finds
that the judgment was rendered without jurisdiction, or that
the sentence imposed was not authorized by law or otherwise
open to collateral attack, or that there has been such a
denial or infringement of the constitutional rights of the
prisoner as to render the judgment vulnerable to collateral
attack, the court shall vacate and set the judgment aside and
shall discharge the prisoner or resentence him or grant a new
trial or correct the sentence as may appear appropriate.
28 U.S.C. § 2255(b).
district court is given discretion in determining whether to
hold an evidentiary hearing on a prisoner's motion under
§ 2255. See Gov't of the Virgin Islands v.
Forte, 865 F.2d 59, 62 (3d Cir. 1989); see also
28 U.S.C. § 2255, R. 8(a). In exercising that
discretion, the court must decide whether the prisoner's
claims, if proven, would entitle him to relief and then
consider whether an evidentiary hearing is needed to
determine the truth of the allegations. See Gov't of
the Virgin Islands v. Weatherwax, 20 F.3d 572, 574 (3d.
Cir. 1994). Accordingly, a district court may summarily
dismiss a motion brought under § 2255 without a hearing
where the “motion, files, and records, ‘show
conclusively that the movant is not entitled to
relief.'” United States v. Nahodil, 36
F.3d 323, 326 (3d Cir. 1994) (quoting United States v.
Day, 969 F.2d 39, 41-42 (3d Cir. 1992)); see also
Forte, 865 F.2d at 62.
motion, Mr. Moore alleges that his counsel provided
constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel because
counsel failed to properly explain to him the interstate
nexus element of the charge of possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon, and also because counsel failed to challenge
the government's evidence with respect to the interstate
nexus element. These claims are meritless.
two-part standard of Strickland v. Washington, 466
U.S. 668 (1984), “supplies the standard for addressing
a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.”
United States v. Smack, 347 F.3d 533, 537 (3d Cir.
2003) (citing Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687).
“The benchmark for judging any claim of ineffectiveness
must be whether counsel's conduct so undermined the
proper functioning of the adversarial process that the trial
cannot be relied on as having produced a just result.”
Strickland, 466 U.S. at 686. Under the two-part
inquiry, “[f]irst, the defendant must show that
counsel's performance was deficient, ” that is,
“that counsel's representation fell below an
objective standard of reasonableness.” Id. at
687-88. The measure for counsel's performance under the
first prong of Strickland is “whether
counsel's assistance was reasonable considering all the
circumstances” including “prevailing professional
norms.” Id. “Second, the defendant must
show that [counsel's] deficient performance prejudiced
the defense.” Id. at 687. The defendant must
demonstrate that “there is a reasonable probability
that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result
of the proceeding would have been different.”
Id. at 694.
Strickland, defendants must establish both prongs of
the standard for ineffective assistance of counsel, and an
ineffective assistance of counsel claim will fail if either
prong is not satisfied. Further, Strickland advises
courts to resolve such claims on the prejudice prong lest
“ineffectiveness claims . . . become so burdensome to
defense counsel that the entire criminal justice system
suffers as a result.” Id. at 697 (stating that
“there is no reason for a court deciding an ineffective
assistance claim to . . . address both components of the
inquiry if the defendant makes an insufficient showing on
one. . . . If ...