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Osman v. United States

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

July 9, 2019




         William Edward Osman ("Petitioner") filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, alleging one ground for relief, ineffective assistance of counsel. Respondent filed a Response to the Motion to Vacate (Doc. 4) in compliance with this Court's instruction. Although given the opportunity to do so (Doc. 5), Petitioner did not file a reply. For the following reasons, the Motion to Vacate will be denied.

         I. Procedural History

         Petitioner was indicted for producing child pornography (Counts One through Six), distributing and receiving child pornography (Counts Seven and Eight), and possession of child pornography (Count Nine). (Criminal Case 6:13-cr-280-Orl-28GJK, Doc. 12.)[1] Pursuant to a written plea agreement, Petitioner pleaded guilty to Counts One, Seven, and Nine. (Criminal Case, Doc. 34.) Following a sentencing hearing, the Court sentenced Petitioner to seven hundred twenty (720) months (i.e., sixty years) of imprisonment and restitution to the victim in the amount of $16, 250. (Criminal Case, Docs. 58, 103.)

         Petitioner appealed the restitution order, and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed it. (Criminal Case, Doc. 105, 109); United States v. Osman, 853 F.3d 1184 (11th Cir. 2017).

         II. Legal Standard

         In Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), the Supreme Court of the United States established a two-part test for determining whether a convicted person is entitled to relief on the ground that his counsel rendered ineffective assistance: (1) whether counsel's performance was deficient and "fell below an objective standard of reasonableness"; and (2) whether the deficient performance prejudiced the defense. Id. at 687-88. A court must adhere to a strong presumption that counsel's conduct falls within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance. Strickland, 466 U.S. at 689-90. "Thus, a court deciding an actual ineffectiveness claim must judge the reasonableness of counsel's challenged conduct on the facts of the particular case, viewed as of the time of counsel's conduct." Id. at 690; Gates v. Zant, 863 F.2d 1492, 1497 (11th Cir. 1989).

         As observed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the test for ineffective assistance of counsel:

has nothing to do with what the best lawyers would have done. Nor is the test even what most good lawyers would have done. We ask only whether some reasonable lawyer at the trial could have acted, in the circumstances, as defense counsel acted at trial. Courts also should at the start presume effectiveness and should always avoid second guessing with the benefit of hindsight. Strickland encourages reviewing courts to allow lawyers broad discretion to represent their clients by pursuing their own strategy. We are not interested in grading lawyers' performances; we are interested in whether the adversarial process at trial, in fact, worked adequately.

White v. Singletary, 972 F.2d 1218, 1220-21 (11th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted). Under those rules and presumptions, ''the cases in which habeas petitioners can properly prevail on the ground of ineffective assistance of counsel are few and far between." Rogers v. Zant, 13 F.3d 384, 386 (11th Cir. 1994).

         III. Analysis

         In this case, Petitioner claims that his trial counsel rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to challenge the validity of the indictment. (Doc. 1 at 4; Doc. 1-1 at 1.) Petitioner generally contends that the indictment "violated his Fifth Amendment rights to due process and to a Grand Jury's protections from arbitrary and oppressive government action, and from being harassed by unfounded and vexatious accusations." (Doc. 1-1 at 3.) He further claims, with regard to the Fifth Amendment, that "the indictment's vague allegations [do not] provide adequate protection for [his] grand jury and double jeopardy rights." (Doc. 1-1 at 7, 11-15, 17-18, 20.) Petitioner also claims that the indictment violated his Sixth Amendment rights because it did not adequately inform him of the nature of the accusations against him (See e.g., Doc. 1-1 at 1-2, 6-7, 9-10, 20.) However, these claims do not entitle Petitioner to relief.

         The Supreme Court has explained that

a guilty plea represents a break in the chain of events which has preceded it in the criminal process. When a criminal defendant has solemnly admitted in open court that he is in fact guilty of the offense with which he is charged, he may not thereafter raise independent claims relating to the deprivation ...

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