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Cooper v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

May 23, 2014

TONY COOPER, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

NEAL B. BIGGERS, Sr., District Judge.

This matter comes before the court on the motion [49] by Tony Cooper to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In his motion, Cooper alleges that the court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to decide the case. Cooper proffers several reasons in support of these claims. First, he argues that the allegations in the indictment did not constitute a crime. Second, Cooper argues that the United States Magistrate Judge in this case did not have the authority to conduct his arraignment. Third, Cooper argues that the proceedings violated his right to a speedy trial under 18 U.S.C. § 3161. Fourth, Cooper argues that the government violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him. Finally, Cooper argues that the proceedings violated his right to due process because the government did not authenticate, index, and tab its exhibits. For the reasons set forth below, the instant motion [49] to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 will be denied in all respects.

Conclusory Allegations

As an initial matter, the court notes that all of Cooper's allegations are conclusory in nature. He merely names various violations he believes to have occurred without setting forth any facts to support his claims. Conclusory allegations such as these fail to state a habeas corpus claim upon which relief could be granted. Mallard v. Cain, 515 F.3d 379 (5th Cir. 2008). All of Cooper's claims will thus be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted because they are bare allegations.

The Indictment

In addition to their conclusory nature, Cooper's allegations are without merit. He alleges that the allegations in his indictment fail to state a criminal charge against him. On the contrary, the words of the indictment carefully track the language of the criminal statute at issue, 18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1)(B). An indictment that tracks language of the appropriate criminal statute is generally sufficient "as long as those words fully, directly, and expressly, without any uncertainty or ambiguity, set forth all of the elements necessary to constitute the offense intended to be punished." United States v. Arlen, 947 F.2d 139, 145 (5th Cir.1991)(internal quotations and citation omitted), cert. denied, 112 S.Ct. 1480 (1992).

The statute in question reads:

Whoever, if the circumstance described in subsection (b) of this section exists... being an agent of an organization, or of a State, local, or Indian tribal government, or any agency thereof... corruptly solicits or demands for the benefit of any person, or accepts or agrees to accept, anything of value from any person, intending to be influenced or rewarded in connection with any business, transaction, or series of transactions of such organization, government, or agency involving any thing of value of $5, 000 or more... shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1)(B). The circumstance in subsection (b) is "that the organization, government, or agency receives, in any one year period, benefits in excess of $10, 000 under a Federal program involving a grant, contract, subsidy, loan, guarantee, insurance, or other form of Federal assistance."

The indictment in this case reads:

At all times material to this indictment, the City of Indianola Police Department was an agency of the City of Indianola, an incorporated municipality in Sunflower County, Mississippi, that received federal assistance in excess of $10, 000 during the one-year period beginning on October 1, 2007, and ending September 30, 2008.
During the time period from on or about March 25, 2008, through July 27, 2009, the Defendant, TONY COOPER, was an agent and police officer with the City of Indianola Police Department, whose duties included enforcing the laws of the State of Mississippi on behalf of the City of Indianola.
Beginning at a time unknown to the Grand Jury, but at least from on or about March 25, 2008, through July 27, 2009, in the Northern District of Mississippi, the defendant, TONY COOPER, did corruptly accept and agree to accept a thing of value from a person, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with any business of the City of Indianola Police Department, involving an amount in excess of $5, 000, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(B).

The indictment in this case clearly tracks the statutory language and identifies the statute. This claim is ...


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