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United States v. Monical

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division

March 4, 2019


          OPINION & ORDER


         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Bradley William Monical's Amended Motion to Vacate or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. ECF No. 89. Defendant also moves for appointment of counsel. ECF No. 102. For the reasons set forth below, the Amended Motion under § 2255 is DENIED. Because the motion and record conclusively show that Defendant is entitled to no relief, no evidentiary hearing is required. Defendant's motion for appointment of counsel is also DENIED.


         On August 1, 2013, Defendant Bradley William Monical was indicted in the District of Oregon for three counts of Armed Bank Robbery (Counts 1, 3, and 5) and two counts of Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Violent Crime (Counts 2 and 4). ECF No 1. The charges stemmed from the November 9, 2010 robbery of a bank in Medford, Oregon (Counts 1 and 2); the December 20, 2010, robbery of a bank in Klamath Falls, Oregon (Counts 3 and 4); and the June 11, 2010, robbery of a bank in Redmond, Oregon (Count 5).

         The bank robberies covered by the Oregon indictment were part of a spree of robberies Monical committed in several states during 2010 and 2011. Monical was also federally charged with Bank Robbery in the District of Idaho for the August 27, 2010, robbery of a Wells Fargo Bank, and with three counts of Armed Bank Robbery in the Eastern District of Washington for the September 4, 2010, robbery of a bank in Walla Walla, Washington (Count 1); the October 2, 2010, robbery of a bank in Kennewick, Washington (Count 2); and the December 2, 2010, robbery of a bank in Spokane Valley, Washington (Count 3). See Presentence Report (“PSR”) ¶¶ 7-10. ECF No. 53.

         On March 21, 2012, Monical was interviewed by the FBI while in custody at the Jackson County Jail. PSR ¶ 27. Monical's then-attorney was present for the interview. Id. During that interview, Monical confessed to the robberies covered by the federal indictments. PSR ¶¶ 28-36. In addition, Monical confessed to robbing Oregon banks in Ashland, Coos Bay, and Salem. Id.[1]At the time of the PSR, Monical had been convicted in Oregon state court of the April 29, 2011, robbery of a bank in Coos Bay, Oregon and the December 16, 2010, robbery of a bank in Ashland, Oregon. PSR ¶¶ 106-07. Monical was also facing state charges related to the bank robberies in Salem, Oregon. PSR ¶ 35.

         In his statement to the FBI, Monical told the agents that he had committed a number of the robberies with the assistance of his cousin, Tucker White, with one acting as the “getaway driver” while the other entered the bank. PSR ¶ 31-36. During the bank robbery in Coos Bay, Monical was apprehended by police before he could reach the vehicle were White was waiting for him. PSR ¶ 36. White escaped from police but was later found dead in an apparent suicide. Id.

         On November 19, 2012, Monical escaped from the Jackson County Jail. PSR ¶ 108. Monical remained a fugitive until November 2013, when he was apprehended by U.S. Marshals in Oregon City, Oregon. Id. After his apprehension, Monical “told authorities he planned his escape from the first day he was at the Jackson County Jail and that planned to escape from any future correctional institution to which he would be moved.” Id.

         At the time of sentencing on his federal charges, Monical had already been sentenced by the Oregon state courts to a total of 35 years for bank robbery and escape in Jackson County and Coos County. PSR ¶¶ 106-08.

         Monical was indicted in the District of Oregon while he was a fugitive. After his apprehension, attorney Terry Kolkey was appointed to represent Monical on his federal charges. ECF No. 5. Kolkey negotiated a global resolution to all three of Monical's federal indictments. Under the terms of the agreement, Monical would receive a sentence of 384 months and one day, to be served concurrent to the undischarged term of imprisonment on Monical's state sentences in the Jackson County Circuit Court and the Coos County Circuit Court. PSR. ¶ 130; see also Plea Agreement, ECF No. 51.

         On June 29, 2015, Monical entered a plea of guilty, pursuant to the plea agreement. ECF No. 49. On November 16, 2015, Monical was sentenced consistent with the plea agreement to 384 months and one day, to be served concurrent to the undischarged term of imprisonment for his state sentences.[2] ECF No. 61.


         Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, a federal prisoner in custody under sentence may move the court that imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence on the ground that:

[T]he sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack. . . .

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a).

         To warrant relief, a petitioner must demonstrate that the error of constitutional magnitude had a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the guilty plea or the jury's verdict. Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S. 619, 637 (1993); see also United States v. Montalvo, 331 F.3d 1052, 1058 (9th Cir. 2003) (“We hold now that Brecht's harmless error standard applies to habeas cases under section 2255, just as it does to those under section 2254.”).

         Under § 2255, “a district court must grant a hearing to determine the validity of a petition brought under that section, ‘[u]nless the motions and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief.'” United States v. Blaylock, 20 F.3d 1458, 1465 (9th Cir. 1994) (alteration and emphasis in original) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2255). In determining whether a § 2255 motion requires a hearing, “[t]he standard essentially is whether the movant has made specific factual allegations that, if true, state a claim on which relief could be granted.” United States v. Withers, 638 F.3d 1055, 1062 (9th Cir. 2011) (alteration in original, internal quotation marks and citation omitted). A district court may dismiss a § 2255 motion based on a facial review of the record “only if the allegations in the motion, when viewed against the record, do not give rise to a claim for relief or are ‘palpably incredible or patently frivolous.'” Id. at 1062-63 (quoting United States v. Schaflander, 743 F.2d 714, 717 (9th Cir. 1984)); see United States v. Hearst, 638 F.2d 1190, 1194 (9th Cir. 1980). Conclusory statements in a § 2255 motion are insufficient to require a hearing. Hearst, 638 F.2d at 1194.


         Monical brings this motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, alleging (1) that his guilty plea in this case was not knowing or voluntary and (2) that he received ineffective assistance of counsel.[3]Monical now claims that he is innocent of the charges and that he falsely confessed and falsely pleaded guilty.

         As a preliminary matter, Monical devotes a considerable amount of time to arguing that he is innocent of the bank robberies in Salem, Oregon. This includes the submission of a Salem police report. Pet. Ex. 9, ECF No. 89-2. Monical was not charged federally for those offenses, however, and this Court has no power to consider the validity of those state convictions under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In addition, those offenses had not been adjudicated at the time of Monical's sentencing on the federal convictions. Monical's assertions and arguments concerning his eventual conviction for the Salem robberies are not relevant to this motion.[4]

         I. Voluntary Guilty Plea

         Entry of a guilty plea must be voluntary, knowing, intelligent, and “done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences.” Iaea v. Sunn, 800 F.2d 861, 865 (9th Cir. 1986). In cases involving collateral attack on a guilty plea, the Supreme Court had held that “[s]olemn declarations in open court carry a strong presumption of verity.” Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 74 (1977). “The subsequent presentation of conclusory allegations ...

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