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Hadam v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

June 30, 2017

MICHAEL GEORGE HADAM, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Criminal No. 2:14-00162

          OPINION

          Mark R. Hornak United States District Judge.

         In a combined change of plea and sentencing hearing held on May 12, 2015, Defendant Michael George Hadam pled guilty to Distribution of Child Pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2) and was sentenced by another member of this Court to a term of imprisonment of 100 months followed by 15 years of supervised release. ECF No. 59-1 at 10, 37. Now pending before the Court is Hadam's pro se Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on the grounds that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. ECF Nos. 52, 57.

         In his § 2255 Motion, Hadam argues that his attorney, Charles LoPresti, was ineffective for a litany of reasons.[1] The United States responds that Hadam's Motion is time-barred by 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)'s one-year limitations period.[2] ECF No. 59 at 5.

         After consideration of Hadam's Motion, his briefing and arguments in support, the transcript of the change of plea and sentencing hearing, and the documentary evidence Hadam submitted, as well as the United States' briefing in opposition, the Court will deny Hadam's § 2255 Motion, ECF Nos. 52, 57.[3] No certificate of appealability will issue.

         I. BACKGROUND

         At Hadam's change of plea and sentencing hearing, the Court placed him under oath, ECF No. 59-1 at 3, and among other things, the Court engaged with Hadam and with counsel in the following colloquies:

THE COURT: You are represented here today by Attorney Charles LoPresti. Mr. LoPresti, you have had an opportunity to confer with your client previously this morning. Are you satisfied that he understands what he's doing here today in that he's entering into this process knowingly and voluntarily?
MR. LoPRESTI: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Mr. Hadam, are you satisfied to have Mr. LoPresti represent you in this matter?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes.
THE COURT: Although, Mr. Hadam, you are charged in a number of counts in this indictment with serious federal offenses, as you stand here this morning, you are presumed to be innocent of those charges, and that means, among other things, that you have certain rights which you have the right to assert here this morning. Those rights include the right to be represented by legal counsel, and you are represented by legal counsel with whom you indicate you are satisfied. You also have the right to have these charges tried by a jury of your peers, and you would not be subject to any of the penalties that I'm going to be going over with you in a few moments, penalties which I'm sure your lawyer and you have already discussed. You would not be subject to any penalties, unless after a trial by a jury you were found guilty of one or more of the counts against you in the indictment in this case. Do you understand that?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes. Sort of like if I don't take the plea, I'm coerced into whatever.
THE COURT: You are not coerced into anything other than the fact that if you don't take a plea, then you would have the opportunity to have this case tried by a jury, and you would not be subject to any penalties, unless after such a trial a jury finds you guilty of one or more of the charges against you in the indictment in this case. Do you understand that?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes.
THE COURT: Do you understand, however, that if you persist in your desire to plead guilty as to Count One of the indictment in this case, you will be found guilty based on your plea of guilt alone? There would be no further trial or hearing to determine the question of your guilt or non-guilt as to Count One of the indictment; that will be foreclosed by your plea of guilt to that count. You would be found guilty based on your plea of guilt alone. There will be a hearing to determine an appropriate sentence, but not to determine the question of guilt or non-guilt as to that count; that will be foreclosed by your plea of guilty. Do you understand that?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes.
THE COURT: Knowing all that, it's still your desire to plead guilty to Count One of the indictment in this case?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes.
THE COURT: Do you understand that the maximum statutory penalty that could be imposed upon you and the minimum statutory penalty that could be imposed upon you upon a finding of guilt as to the charges set forth in Count One of the indictment is a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years and it could be as much as 20; a fine not to exceed $250, 000; a term of supervised release of not less than 5 years, and it could be for the balance of your life; you could be required to pay restitution; any instrumentalities used in the commission of the crime would be subject to forfeiture by the Government; and you would be required to pay a special assessment of $100? Those are the maximum and minimal statutory penalties. The actual penalty will be determined by the Court, the Court having received a Presentence Investigation Report, and has filed its memorandum indicating the Guidelines calculation, which it was required to compute based on facts obtained in the Presentence Investigation Report primarily, and it applied those facts to Guidelines promulgated pursuant to the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 and came up with the Guideline range, which in this case was, what, 155 to 188 months.
MS. SMOLAR:[4] One-fifty-one, Your Honor, to 188.
THE COURT: Then the Court must consider that in an advisory manner in determining an appropriate sentence in this case, which could not be less than the five years that I have indicated to you in the five years of imprisonment and five years of supervised release.... Do you understand?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes.
THE COURT: Other than the promises set forth in a plea bargain entered into in this case on December 2 - or a plea bargain which is contained in a letter from the United States Department of Justice, United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania to Mr. LoPresti, your lawyer in this case, a letter dated December 2, 2014, other than the promises set forth in that document, have any other promises been made to you by anybody purporting to be acting on behalf of the United States Government which have induced you in any way to enter a plea of guilty in this case?
THE DEFENDANT: No.
THE COURT: Have any threats been made to you by anybody purporting to be acting on behalf of the United States Government that if you did not enter a plea of guilty to one or more counts of the indictment in this case, that other adverse action will be taken against you or somebody else?
THE DEFENDANT: No.
THE COURT: You have a signed copy of the plea agreement. Is that your signature that ...

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