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Cameron v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division

August 16, 2017




         This case is before the Court on Petitioner Antwan Cameron's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, (Civ. Doc. 1, Motion to Vacate).[1] The United States has responded (Civ. Doc. 4, Response), and Cameron has replied (Civ. Doc. 7, Reply). Cameron also filed an Amended Motion to Vacate (Civ. Doc. 10, Amended Motion to Vacate), to which the United States has responded as well (Civ. Doc. 12, Response to Amended Motion).

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and Rule 8(a) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings[2], the Court has considered the need for an evidentiary hearing and determines that an evidentiary hearing is not necessary to resolve the merits of this action. See Aron v. United States, 291 F.3d 708, 714-15 (11th Cir. 2002) (an evidentiary hearing on a § 2255 petition is not required when the petitioner asserts allegations that are affirmatively contradicted by the record or patently frivolous, or if in assuming the facts that he alleges are true, he still would not be entitled to any relief); Holmes v. United States, 876 F.2d 1545, 1553 (11th Cir. 1989) (a petitioner's ineffective assistance claim can be dismissed without an evidentiary hearing when the petitioner alleges facts that, even if true, would not entitle him to relief); Patel v. United States, 252 F. App'x 970, 975 (11th Cir. 2007).[3] For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Vacate is due to be denied.

         I. Background

         Cameron stands convicted of one count of making a false or fictitious statement while attempting to acquire a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(a)(6) and 924(a)(2).

         The Eleventh Circuit summarized the facts of the offense as follows:

In November 2011, Defendant Cameron and Allison Gornail visited Shooters of Jacksonville (“Shooters”), a store that sells firearms and ammunition. Cameron and Gornail spoke with the store manager. Gornail expressed an interest in purchasing an AK-47 assault rifle for herself.
The store manager suspected that Gornail was actually purchasing the firearm for Cameron, and not for her own personal use, because Gornail did not know why she was buying the firearm, whereas Cameron was very knowledgeable about the firearm. After Cameron attempted to pay for the firearm, the store manager asked Cameron to fill out a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Form 4473 (“ATF form”), which has to be completed before an individual can buy a firearm.
The ATF form requires a buyer of a firearm to provide his name and address and state whether the buyer is the “actual transferee/buyer” of the firearm. The ATF form also includes a warning, which provides that “[y]ou are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person.
If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.” Question 11i of the ATF form asks whether the buyer, here Defendant Cameron, has a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. The instructions for question 11i of the ATF form set forth the statutory definition of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.” If a buyer represents on the ATF form that he has a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, the buyer is disqualified from buying a firearm.
In filling out the ATF form, Defendant Cameron represented that he, and not Gornail, was the actual transferee/buyer of the AK-47. Cameron also represented that he had never been convicted in a court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Finally, Cameron certified that his answers on the ATF form were true and correct and that he read and understood the notices, instructions, and definitions on the form.
After Defendant Cameron completed the form, Shooters conducted a background check of Cameron through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (“FDLE”). The FDLE reported that Cameron was ineligible to buy the firearm. Thus, Shooters could not sell Cameron the firearm. Once Cameron and Gornail left Shooters, the store manager notified law enforcement about Cameron's attempt to purchase the AK-47.

United States v. Cameron, 547 F. App'x 942, 943-44 (11th Cir. 2013) (emphasis in original) (footnotes omitted). As it turned out, Cameron was ineligible to buy a firearm because he did have a prior conviction for a crime of domestic violence, contrary to his answer on ATF Form 4473.

         Thereafter, a grand jury sitting in the Middle District of Florida charged Cameron with one count of making a false or fictitious statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer. Cameron pled not guilty and proceeded to trial.

At Cameron's trial, a government witness testified that, in November 2004, Cameron pled guilty to actually and intentionally touching or striking a family or household member, against her will or intentionally causing bodily harm to that person, in violation of Fla. Statutes §§ 784.03 and 741.28. There was no objection to this testimony. The government introduced into evidence the information charging Cameron with domestic battery and the judgment.
Later at trial, Cameron testified in his own defense that, in November 2011, Gornail asked for his assistance in purchasing a firearm for her protection. He went with Gornail to Shooters to assist her in purchasing a firearm. Cameron also intended to pay for the firearm Gornail selected. At the store, once Cameron indicated that he would pay for the firearm, a Shooters employee asked Cameron to fill out an ATF form. Cameron testified that, on the ATF form, he represented that he was the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm because he believed that, if he did not make that representation, Shooters would not complete the firearm sale.
Cameron further testified that, on the ATF form, he represented that he did not have a prior conviction for a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction because the documents in his possession showed that he only had a prior conviction for battery, not domestic battery. Furthermore, prior to pleading guilty to what he now knew was domestic battery, he only “vaguely” remembered the judge explaining to him the details about the charges against him.
On cross-examination, the government asked Cameron about the events of October 6, 2004, the date of the domestic battery. At side bar, Cameron's counsel objected to the government eliciting the underlying details of the domestic battery offense because Cameron had admitted he committed the battery. Cameron's counsel stated that it was “irrelevant and overly prejudicial to get into the details of the battery.” The district court requested that the government first ask questions that related to [Mikeisha] Frison's relationship with Cameron and whether Cameron admitted to having committed the battery. The court stated that, depending on Cameron's answers, the government might not need to address the underlying conduct that constituted the battery. Following the court's resolution of his objection, Cameron stated “[o]kay.”
The government thus asked Cameron whether he recalled committing a battery on Mikeisha Frison on October 6, 2004, and he answered affirmatively. Cameron clarified that he did not know at the time of the 2011 attempted firearm purchase that he had committed a domestic battery, because he thought that he and Frison had to be “official boyfriend and girlfriend” for his actions toward Frison to constitute domestic battery.
Cameron affirmed that he now knew, “if you batter the mother of your child, that ... is domestic battery.” At the time of the battery, Cameron, however, was uncertain as to whether he was the father of Frison's child. Cameron claimed that, although he had never contested paternity, he had doubts as to whether he was actually the child's father because Frison had cheated on him. Nevertheless, on the date of the battery, Cameron knew that, “at least, according to the child's mother, the birth certificate and anybody else who had ever been told, ” he was the father of Frison's child. The government then asked whether Frison was pregnant with Cameron's second child at the time of the battery, and Cameron responded affirmatively.
Cameron also testified that he recalled being charged with two offenses in connection with the October 2004 incident. Cameron conceded that his public defender offered Cameron a plea bargain with respect to one of the charges, which was a felony charge, but he did not want to take that offer. The following exchange then occurred between the government and Cameron, which led to this discussion of the details of the battery:
Q. And why didn't you want to take the offer?
A. At the time, I felt since I called the police, that I wasn't wrong. But apparently in those situations, I'm wrong, regardless of who actually called the police.
Q. You're not denying that you struck Mikeisha Frison on October 6th, 2004, are you?
A. I'm not denying it. She had a bruise. I can't say when it became apart, but she had a bruise and, subsequently, we were struggling at a point.
Q. Okay. You were struggling and fighting with her?
A. Yes, sir.
Cameron, however, did not subsequently object to the government's questions or move to strike his ...

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