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United States v. Clow

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division

October 17, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
WILSON LEE CLOW, JR., Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER

          ANN AIKEN United States District Judge

         The matter comes before the Court on Defendant Wilson Lee Clow's Motion to Vacate or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. ECF No. 163. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is DENIED. Because the motion and record conclusively show that Defendant is entitled to no relief, no evidentiary hearing is required. The Court declines to issue a certificate of appealability.

         BACKGROUND

         Clow and his wife were the owners and operators of 2nd Amendment Guns, LLC, which was a gun dealer and FFL in Grants Pass, Oregon. In 2012, Clow's business was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ("ATF"). In the course of that investigation, ATF sent a confidential informant, who was a convicted felon, to purchase guns from Clow. The confidential informant told Clow that he was a felon and unable to legally purchase firearms.

         In addition to the confidential informant, an undercover ATF agent was sent to purchase guns from Clow, posing as a relative of the confidential informant. The agent told Clow that he was buying the firearms for someone else as a straw purchaser.

         Clow sold firearms to both the confidential informant and the undercover ATF agent; assisted them in fraudulently filling out the background check forms; and made false statements in the A&D Book. The ATF captured the unlawful sales, along with incriminating statements made by Clow, on both audio and video recordings.

         In August 2012, law enforcement obtained and executed a federal search warrant for both Clow's business and his residence, which was located on the same property. During the search, Clow was advised of his Miranda rights and agreed to be interviewed by law enforcement. During the interview, Clow confessed and admitted that he had sold firearms to an individual he knew to be a felon.

         On December 12, 2012, Clow was federally indicted for selling firearms to a prohibited person and making false statements on the ATF forms and the R&D Book. ECF No. 1. Attorney Shaun McCrea was appointed to represent Clow.

         On January 11, 2016, Clow moved to suppress his confession and other statements made to law enforcement during the execution of the search warrant. ECF No. 47, Following a hearing, the Court denied the motion to suppress, finding that the statements were voluntary and admissible, ECF Nos. 53, 56.

         A jury trial was held in Medford on June 27, 28, and 29, 2016, during which Clow testified in his own defense. Clow argued that he had been entrapped by the ATF. Clow also argued that he had been aware that the confidential informant was working for the ATF and that he had sold the firearms to the informant and the agent in an effort to expose the ATF and engage them in a conversation about what Clow believed to be harassment.

         On June 29, 2016, Clow was convicted of three counts of Selling a Firearm to a Prohibited Person in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(d) and two counts of False Statement During Sale of Firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(A). On May 18, 2017, Clow received a below-Guidelines sentence of twenty-four months in prison with three years of supervised release. ECF Nos. 150, 157. Clow's sentence was affirmed on direct appeal. United States v. Clow, 722 Fed.Appx. 720 (9th Cir. 2018).

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         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 ...

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