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Morrow v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

July 6, 2015

CHRISTOPHER L. MORROW
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Civil Action No. 3:1OCR29TSL

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

TOM S. LEE, District Judge.

This cause is before the court on the motion of defendant Christopher L. Morrow for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Having considered the motion, the government's response thereto, defendant's traverse and the record, the court concludes that the motion is due to be denied based on the following.

On March 17, 2010, the grand jury returned a two-count indictment against Morrow, charging him with two counts of felon in possession of a firearm. After entering a plea of not guilty before the magistrate judge, on June 10, 2010, Morrow, represented by Bradley A. Oberhousen, pled guilty to count two, pursuant to a written plea agreement comprised of the "plea agreement" and the "plea supplement." Significantly, the plea agreement recites that Morrow waived the right to appeal and to challenge his conviction and sentence or the manner in which the sentence was imposed via a § 2255 motion. Specifically, the plea agreement states:

7. Waivers. Defendant, knowing and understanding all of the matters aforesaid, including the maximum possible penalty that could be imposed [not more than 10 years in prison], and being advised of Defendant's rights to remain silent, to subpoena witnesses on Defendant's own behalf, to confront the witnesses against Defendant; and to appeal the conviction and sentence, in exchange for the U.S. Attorney entering into this plea agreement and accompanying plea supplement, hereby expressly waives the following rights:
a. the right to appeal the conviction and sentence imposed in this case, or the manner in which it was imposed on the grounds set forth in Title 18, United States Code, Section 3742, or on any ground whatsoever, and
b. the right to contest the conviction and sentence or the manner in which the sentence was imposed in any post-conviction proceeding, including but not limited to a motion brought under Title 28, United States Code, Section 2255, and any type of proceeding claiming double jeopardy or excessive penalty as a result of any forfeiture order in this case.

(Emphasis added). The plea agreement is signed by Morrow and his counsel. Immediately above the signature lines, both documents contain the following language:

Defendant and Defendant's attorney of record declare that the terms of this plea supplement have been:
1. READ BY OR TO DEFENDANT;
2. EXPLAINED TO DEFENDANT BY DEFENDANT'S ATTORNEY;
3. UNDERSTOOD BY DEFENDANT;
4. VOLUNTARILY ACCEPTED BY DEFENDANT; AND
5. AGREED TO AND ACCEPTED BY DEFENDANT.

At the change of plea hearing, having sworn the defendant and established his competency to enter a plea, the court apprised him of the maximum possible sentence of ten years' incarceration and a $250, 000 fine. The court then specifically asked defendant:

THE COURT: Has anybody threatened, coerced, harassed or intimidated you in any way to persuade you to come to court today to plead guilty?
THE DEFENDANT: No, sir.
THE COURT: Are you appearing voluntarily and of your ...

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