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7th Circuit upholds sentence for drug offenses

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Dealing with the issue for the first time, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a certificate of appealability is needed for the part of a case that challenges the denial of collateral relief.

In United States of America v. Kimani Lanier Fleming, No. 11-1404, Kimani Fleming appealed his revised 480-month sentence and the District Court’s decision to use aggregation of individual drug quantities over a period of time to conclude whether Fleming possessed more than 50 grams of crack. Fleming was originally sentenced to life in prison for his various drug and firearms convictions, but his sentence was revised after Fleming filed a petition under 18 U.S.C. Section 2255 asserting his counsel had been constitutionally ineffective. The government then admitted it had failed to file its notice of enhanced penalty within the permitted time frame, causing the District Court to set aside the mandatory life sentence.

Fleming then appealed his revised sentence and challenged his conviction of possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute. He has no certificate of appealability on the conviction issue.

“The question is whether he needs a CA for his challenge to the aggregation ruling, which is the part of the case that was rejected in his § 2255 proceeding. Although we have not had occasion to address this situation before, our sister circuits have done so and have unanimously concluded that a CA is needed for the part of the case that challenges the denial of collateral relief,” wrote Judge Diane Wood. “We see no reason to part company with them, and we thus conclude that Fleming is not entitled to challenge the adverse portion of the district court’s decision on his § 2255 motion without a CA.”

The judges declined to grant him a CA based on alleged ineffectiveness of counsel and affirmed his sentence. They found the District Court reasonably relied in part on the testimony of a witness indicating the amount of cocaine powder Fleming was moving.

 

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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