Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Raglin

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

February 11, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF
v.
AARON LEE RAGLIN, DEFENDANT

          OPINION AND ORDER

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on defendant Aaron Lee Raglin's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (DE 223). The motion was referred to a magistrate judge who has recommended that the Court deny the motion and that the Court not issue a Certificate of Appealability. Raglin has filed well-written objections to the magistrate judge's recommendation (DE 251).

         Raglin pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. By judgment dated December 15, 2015, this Court sentenced him to a prison term of 120 months. (DE 148, Raglin Judgment.) Raglin's § 2255 motion and his objections all center on his argument that the indictment in this case was faulty because it charged him with conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine but charged his three co-defendants with conspiring to distribute only 500 grams or more. (DE 34, Superseding Indictment, Count 1.)

         Raglin seems to make two arguments as to why this requires that his sentence be vacated. First, Raglin argues that Count 1 of the indictment was “duplicitous” because it actually charged two different crimes: a conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and a conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. (DE 251, Objections at 5.)

         There are a few problems with this argument, First, “an indictment is duplicitous if it sets forth separate and distinct crimes in one count.” United States v. Davis, 306 F.3d 398, 415 (6th Cir. 2002). The vice of duplicity is that a jury may find a defendant guilty on a count without reaching a unanimous verdict on any particular offense. United States v. Boyd, 640 F.3d 657, 665-66 (6th Cir. 2011). The primary concern is that a defendant is deprived of his right to a unanimous jury verdict. Id. at 666. Raglin does not argue that Count 1 charges him with two crimes. Instead, he argues that it charges him with a different crime than his co-defendants. This is not an argument that the indictment is duplicitous.

         Second, the potential that any jury verdict was not unanimous is not a concern here. Raglin pleaded guilty to the lesser included offense of Count 1 of conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. Thus, there was no jury verdict.

         Third, Raglin has waived any right to challenge Count 1 on constitutional grounds by pleading guilty to a lesser-included offense. United States v. Martinez-Orozco, 52 Fed.Appx. 790, 792 (6th Cir. 2002). “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 of constitutional rights that occurred prior to the entry of the guilty plea.” Tollett v. Henderson, 411 U.S. 258, 267 (1973).

         Raglin argues the indictment did not provide him adequate notice of the conspiracy charge against him. Courts have recognized that this is another danger of a duplicitous charge. United States v. Berardi, 675 F.2d 894, 899 (7th Cir. 1982) (citing United States v. Alsobrook, 620 F.2d 139, 142 (6th Cir. 1980)); United States v. Blandford, 33 F.3d 685, 699, n.17 (6th Cir. 1994). Nevertheless, by pleading guilty to a lesser-included offense of Count 1, Raglin has waived any right to bring a claim that he did not have adequate notice of the charge.

         Finally, even if Raglin could raise a claim that he did not have adequate notice of the charge against him, the indictment was clear as to the amounts that Raglin was charged with conspiring to distribute. Count 1 charges all the co-codefendants with conspiring to distribute cocaine. In a section titled “Quantity of Cocaine Involved in the Conspiracy, ” the indictment explicitly asserts that “the amount involved in the conspiracy attributable to [Raglin] as a result of his own conduct, and the conduct of other conspirators reasonably foreseeable to him, is 5 kilogram[s] or more, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)(ii).” As to the other three defendants, the indictment clearly stated that the amount of cocaine attributable to them was 500 grams or more.

         For these reasons, Raglin's argument that his sentence should be vacated because Count 1 of the indictment was duplicitous fails.

         Raglin's second argument is what he describes as his “main argument.” (DE 251, Objections at 1.) He argues that his sentence for distributing at least 500 grams of cocaine should be set aside because the indictment “never charged ‘a conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine' at all.” (DE 251, Objections at 1.) Raglin argues that “it makes no sense to hold that the petitioner conspired with 3 defendants to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, but that those 3 defendants never conspired with the petitioner to distribute 5 kilograms or more . . . .” (DE 251, Objections at 7.)

         Again, however, Raglin ultimately pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, a lesser included offense of Count 1. His guilty plea to that offense waives any claim that Count 1 of the indictment did not properly charge an offense. See Martinez-Orozco, 52 Fed.Appx. at 792; Tollett v. Henderson, 411 U.S. at 267. Moreover, Raglin's plea to conspiring to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine renders irrelevant his argument that Count 1 did not properly charge him with conspiring to distribute at least 5 kilograms of cocaine.

         Finally, Count 1 of the indictment is not improper just because it charged Raglin with conspiring to distribute more cocaine than his co-conspirators were charged with. “Generally, a defendant involved in a drug-conspiracy is responsible for the drug quantities for which he is directly involved, and any quantity that is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the conspiracy.” United States v. Anderson, 333 Fed.Appx. 17, 25 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing United States v. Caver, 470 F.3d 220, 246 (6th Cir.2007)).

         The grand jury may receive evidence indicating that one member of a conspiracy had knowledge that would make the conspiracy's ultimate distribution of at least 5 kilograms of cocaine reasonably foreseeable to that defendant. The grand jury may receive evidence indicating that another member of the conspiracy had more limited knowledge, making the conspiracy's distribution of only 500 grams foreseeable to him. In ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.