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United States v. White

United States District Court, D. Alaska

September 23, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
LONNIE JOHN WHITE, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S AMENDED MOTION TO VACATE UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 2255

TIMOTHY M. BURGESS, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Lonnie John White ("White") moves pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel, due process violations, prosecutorial misconduct, and sentencing entrapment.[1] The government opposes, arguing that White's claims lack sufficient facts to meet the burden required for reversal.[2] For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES White's motion at Docket 219.

II. Factual Background

A. White's Felony Drug Convictions

From May 2006 to August 2007, White sold crack cocaine to a confidential witness on five separate occasions, four of which occurred at White's residence.[3] These sales were monitored by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.[4] The amount for each sale varied, ranging from 2.6 to 69.4 grams.[5]

On November 13, 2007, a grand jury returned an indictment charging White with five counts of distribution of a controlled substance.[6] On November 16, 2008, the FBI executed a search warrant at White's apartment where agents saw him throw 85.4 grams of crack cocaine out of a window.[7] In the apartment, law enforcement found a digital scale, a loaded hand gun, and an additional 27.5 grams of crack cocaine.[8] A grand jury returned a superseding six-count indictment on July 8, 2008 to include the drugs found during the search.[9]

White's five-day trial began on December 17, 2008.[10] White requested a jury instruction on entrapment; the Court declined to give the instruction and White's counsel did not object.[11] On December 29, 2008, a jury convicted White on counts 1, 2, and 3 of the superseding indictment.[12]

B. White's Sentencing

At sentencing, White had an adjusted guideline offense level of 34 and a criminal history V, resulting in a guideline range of 235-293 months.[13] However, the mandatory statutory minimum sentence was 240 months.[14] Both parties argued for the mandatory minimum sentence, which the court imposed.[15]

C. White's Appeal

White, assisted by counsel, filed a notice of appeal challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction and sentence based on the discrepancy between the amount of drugs sold versus the amount detected by law enforcement.[16] The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found sufficient evidence to uphold White's conviction and sentence and affirmed on August, 5, 2010.[17]

D. White's 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Motion

On June 14, 2012, White filed a pro se motion to vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 raising four claims: ineffective assistance of trial counsel, violation of due process, prosecutorial misconduct, and sentence entrapment.[18] The government opposes, arguing: (1) White is not entitled to raise these claims since they are either untimely or ...


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