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Jeffers v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Central Division

February 15, 2017

BRUCE KENTON JEFFERS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REGARDING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS PETITIONER'S § 2255 MOTION TO VACATE

          MARK W. BENNETT U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

         I.INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND ............................................................. 2

         A. Criminal Case Proceedings .......................................................................... 2

         B. Jeffers's § 2255 Proceeding ......................................................................... 5

         II. LEGAL ANALYSIS ................................................................................................. 5

         A. Standards for § 2255 Motion ....................................................................... 5

         B. Standards for Motions to Dismiss ................................................................ 7

         C. Procedural Default ....................................................................................... 9

         D. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel ................................................................ 9

         1. Applicable standards ......................................................................... 9

         2. Strickland's “deficient performance” prong .................................. 11

         3. Strickland's “prejudice” prong ....................................................... 13

         E. Analysis of Jeffers's Claims ....................................................................... 14

         F. Certificate of Appealability ........................................................................ 16

         III. CONCLUSION ...................................................................................................... 17

         Respondent's Motion to Dismiss Petitioner's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody (docket no. 3), in which respondent seeks dismissal of petitioner Bruce Jeffers's § 2255 motion because Jeffers's claims are procedurally defaulted, is before me for decision. Jeffers's appointed counsel filed a brief in accordance with Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), asserting there are no meritorious issues concerning Jeffers's procedural default. Jeffers, in turn, filed a pro se brief in resistance to respondent's Motion to Dismiss.

         I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

         A. Criminal Case Proceedings

         Jeffers was arrested on August 5, 2013, and charged with state offenses. He was also charged in a federal Indictment, in this court, on September 19, 2013. The charges against Jeffers are separate counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm (Count 1) and being a felon in possession of ammunition (Count 2), in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1), 924(a)(2), and 924(e)(1).

         On July 7, 2014, Jeffers pleaded guilty to both counts before United States Magistrate Judge Leonard T. Strand.[1] In a Report And Recommendation Concerning Guilty Plea, filed that same day, Judge Strand recommended that I accept Jeffers's plea. After the parties filed Waivers of any objections to the Report And Recommendation, I accepted Jeffers's guilty plea by Order, also filed July 7, 2014.

         According to the Second Amended And Final Presentence Investigation Report (Second Amended PSIR) (docket no. 80), the offense conduct leading to Jeffers's guilty plea in this case is the following:

On August 5, 2013, Fort Dodge, Iowa, police officers were dispatched to a domestic disturbance involving a firearm. They were advised that [Jeffers] had entered the residence of his estranged girlfriend and mother of his children, Julie Jensen, at [*******************], Fort Dodge, Iowa. Jensen advised that she was asleep on the couch with her daughter when [Jeffers] held her with one hand and put a gun in her face with the other. [Jeffers] threatened Jensen and told her not to call the police. Jensen advised the officers that she and [Jeffers] had been together since 1999 and that they separated in November 2012. She stated the defendant now had his own residence. [Jeffers] was located by officers as he was pulling into the garage at his residence located at 716 South 20th Street Fort Dodge, Iowa. Located in plain view on the front seat of [Jeffers's] truck were live rounds of .380 caliber ammunition. A loaded black Kel Tec .380 pistol with serial number L3U38 was located several feet from [Jeffers's] driveway behind a wire fence in the adjoining neighbor's yard. During his arrest and booking, [Jeffers] attempted to conceal and discard additional .380 caliber rounds of ammunition in the booking area of the jail.

         Second Amended PSIR at ¶ 4. Jeffers, who was then 52 years old, was initially charged with first-degree burglary in the Iowa District Court for Webster County and, on October 11, 2013, he pleaded guilty to a lesser offense of second-degree ...


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