United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division
ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND
DISMISSING WITH PREJUDICE THE PETITION
GEIGER LEWIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Ernest Raymond Roberts (Roberts), proceeding pro se, brought
a motion to vacate his sentence (Roberts's motion or
Petition) alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The
Court has jurisdiction over this case under 28 U.S.C. §
before the Court are Roberts's motion and Respondent
United States of America's (Respondent) motion to
dismiss. Having carefully considered Roberts's motion,
Respondent's motion, Roberts's response, the record,
and the applicable law, it is the judgment of the Court
Respondent's motion to dismiss will be granted and
Roberts's motion will be dismissed with prejudice.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
grand jury indicted Roberts on one count of possession with
intent to distribute cocaine. He proceeded to trial, where he
was represented by counsel, Jeremy Thompson (Thompson).
During deliberations, the jury sent a note to the Court
stating the jury remained deadlocked after a day of
deliberations. The Court, over the objection of Thompson,
provided an Allen charge to the jury. After further
deliberations, the jury found Roberts guilty of the charged
represented Roberts at trial and on appeal. In the appeal,
Thompson challenged whether the Court abused its discretion
in admitting the drugs into evidence under Federal Rule of
Evidence 901(a). Thompson requested and received transcripts
of portions of the trial for the appeal. The Fourth Circuit
affirmed the Court's ruling on November 13, 2018. Roberts
timely filed this motion on March 1, 2019. Respondent filed
its motion to dismiss the Petition and Roberts filed a
response to that motion.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a
petitioner must demonstrate two elements: 1)
“counsel's performance was deficient, ” and
2) “the deficient performance prejudiced the
defense.” Strickland v. Washington, 486 U.S.
668, 687 (1984).
first element analyzes whether trial counsel provided
“reasonably effective assistance.” Id.
“Judicial scrutiny of counsel's performance must be
highly deferential.” Id. at 689. There is
“a strong presumption that counsel's conduct falls
within the wide range of reasonable professional
second element “requires showing that counsel's
errors were so serious as to deprive the defendant of a fair
trial, a trial whose result is reliable.” Id.
at 687. The defendant raising an ineffective assistance
challenge has an affirmative obligation to prove prejudice.
Id. at 693.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
raises two arguments for ineffective assistance of counsel he
says requires vacating his sentence: 1) Thompson neglected to
request and receive a full, complete, and accurate transcript
of the trial proceedings for appeal, and 2) Thompson failed
to appeal the Court's language in the provided
Allen charge. Both arguments lack merit and the
Court addresses each in turn.
Whether failure to request a full transcript of all trial
court proceedings constitutes ...