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Barnes v. Hammer

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 25, 2014

Danny Kwami Barnes, Petitioner - Appellant
v.
Steve Hammer, Acting Warden Rush City Correctional Facility; Attorney General of the State of Minnesota, Respondents - Appellees

Submitted June 10, 2014

Page 811

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis.

Danny Kwami Barnes, Petitioner - Appellant, Pro se, Moose Lake, MN.

For Danny Kwami Barnes, Petitioner - Appellant: Daniel Guerrero, Meshbesher & Spence, Minneapolis, MN.

For Steve Hammer, Acting Warden Rush City Correctional Facility, Respondent - Appellee: Matthew Frank, Assistant Attorney General, Attorney General's Office, Appeals Division, Saint Paul, MN; William J. Watson, Ortonville, MN.

For Attorney General of the State of Minnesota, Respondent - Appellee: Jennifer Renee Coates, Attorney General's Office, Contracts & Intellectual Property Division, Saint Paul, MN; Matthew Frank, Assistant Attorney General, Attorney General's Office, Appeals Division, Saint Paul, MN; William J. Watson, Ortonville, MN.

Before LOKEN, BEAM, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 812

BEAM, Circuit Judge.

Danny Kwami Barnes appeals the district court's[1] denial of his petition for habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Certified for appeal is the sole question of whether Barnes received ineffective assistance of counsel, leading him to reject a favorable plea offer. We affirm the district court's denial of relief.

I. BACKGROUND

Barnes is a pastor at a church in Minnesota. On June 22, 2009, he led a group of parishioners to a residence in Beardsley, Minnesota, in what he describes in his brief as " a misguided attempt to help a wayward parishioner" --Max Bauer--by breaking in and forcefully removing Max from the residence. Armed with firearms, Barnes' group smashed a glass door to get inside, and once inside, the group pulled Max (who was hiding under a bed) from a bedroom and beat him as they dragged him out of the house. Max's father Chuck was a co-pastor, and one of the members of the group that pulled Max from the house. Based upon this incident, Barnes was ultimately charged in Minnesota state court with kidnaping, first-degree burglary with a dangerous weapon, second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, and fifth-degree assault. He waived a jury trial and following a two-day bench trial, was convicted of the foregoing counts by the court.

Prior to trial, there were extensive plea negotiations. Barnes' first lawyer was a public defender, Kenneth Hamrum. Hamrum informed Barnes that he faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 36 months, and that he could be possibly given a longer sentence, if convicted of the charges. At some point during Hamrum's representation of Barnes, the prosecution offered Barnes a deal for a 36-month sentence for pleading guilty on one count, and dismissing the others. Hamrum testified that he communicated this deal to Barnes, but that Barnes was unwilling to accept any deal involving prison time. On the eve of the scheduled trial date in October 2009, Barnes discharged Hamrum and sought new counsel, eventually securing the services of Jerome Lewis, with Mitchell Robinson ...


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