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Jones v. United States

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 29, 2013

TODD RAY JONES, Petitioner,


B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.


Pending before the Court is Todd Ray Jones's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Dkt. 1). Having reviewed the record, including the record in the underlying criminal case, the Court will deny the motion.


On August 2, 2007, Idaho State Police executed a search warrant at Defendant Todd Jones's residence. The search warrant was authorized by Judge Roger B. Harris of the Fifth Judicial District for the State of Idaho. Gov't Ex. K, Dkt. 41-15. Detective Scott Ward provided the Judge with a signed search warrant affidavit. Gov't Ex. J, Dkt 41-13.

The search warrant affidavit explains that the Idaho State Police began an investigation of Todd Jones in January 2007. Id. ¶ 2. Cody Adams and John Rearick were stopped in Utah where troopers found ten pounds of marijuana in their car. Id. Adams told Utah police officers that drugs in their possession were being delivered to Todd Jones. Id. They stated that Jones had recently moved from Seattle, Washington to Twin Falls, Idaho. Id.

Detective Ward then began a background investigation on Jones and determined that Jones and his wife Susan Jones owned a 2004 black Cadillac registered to an address in Everett, Washington. Id. The driver's license check showed that both Jones and his wife had licenses in Washington. Id. Jones's criminal history check showed several arrests in Washington, including "Possession with intent to Deliver Drugs, Manufacturing with intent to Deliver Marijuana, Assault, Felon in possession of a fire arm, ...[and] Delivery of Cocaine." Id.

The affidavit stated that on July 31, 2007, Idaho State Police interviewed Dustin and Jamie Brower. Id. The Browers informed detectives that six months prior they had met Todd and Susan Jones and had become friends with them soon after. Id. The Browers gave the detectives personal information about Jones, saying he had recently moved from Seattle, his birthday was July 31, and he owned a red Ford Taurus and a Black Cadillac, which records confirmed. Id. ¶ 2-3.

The Browers told officers that Jones lived at 252 Leisure Lane, and described the house as a "singlewide mobile home tan in color with an eight-foot wooden fence around the property with three gates." Id. ¶ 3. The Browers also told detectives that the Jones had three surveillance cameras positioned around the property. Id.

Mr. Brower told officers he had personally seen a two-foot tall marijuana plant and growing lights in Jones's bathroom. Id. Mr. Brower also stated that Jones told him on several occasion that he had a grow room under the house. Id. Mr. Brower stated he had witnessed "numerous drug deals" inside of Jones car, and that in the last four months Mr. Brower had introduced four or five people to Jones so they could purchase both prescription pills and marijuana. Id. ¶ 4. Mr. Brower said Jones asked him during the first week of July 2007 to go to Bliss, Idaho and get money from Cody Adams for the marijuana the police confiscated in Utah. Id. Mr. Brower stated he had seen Jones in possession of three different firearms including: (1) a 45-caliber revolver, (2) a 25-caliber semi-automatic handgun, and (3) a 9mm or 45-caliber handheld weapon. Id.

On July 31, 2007, Detective Sweesy and Detective Ward identified the property referenced by the Browers as a 252 Leisure Lane. Id. The Detectives stated the property was on the northeast corner of Leisure Lane and Villa Road and the numbers 252 were attached to the doorframe. Id. They stated there were two gate entrances visible from the street, and there appeared to be a camera under the car port. Id. The police attached a photo of the residence to the search warrant affidavit. Gov't Ex. J-1, Dkt. 41-14.

In the affidavit, Detective Ward referenced his training and experience to analyze the information given by the Browers, and found that the information conformed to what is normally seen during investigations into the drug trade. Id. ¶ 5. Detective Ward also listed items he believed should be seized in connection with the alleged crimes. Id. ¶ 5-6.

The search warrant was issued on August 1, 2007, to search the residence at 252 Leisure Lane and included the following description:

A Single wide, Tan colored trailer with tan and brown trim. The trailer is located in the northeast corner of Leisure Lane and Villa Road. The trailer sits at an angle on the lot and has an eight foot wooden fence around the property. The fence is painted tan. The fence has a doublewide gate in the driveway are. The gate is a natural wood color and has a peak in the middle of the gate. The tan fence has a no trespassing sign affixed to it. An American flag is mounted under the eve of the carport. The numbers 252 are affixed to the west side of the doorframe. There are several large pine and leaf type trees on the property in the front and back yard.
Gov't Ex. K ¶ 1, Dkt. 41-15.

The search warrant allowed officers to search for and seize the following items:

... apparent instrumentality's or items connected with the sale or use of a controlled substances or evidencing of the same, firearms, U.S. currency or other valuables easily liquidated for cash in such amounts or situated or packaged in such a way as to make apparent that such are proceeds of trafficking in controlled substances or manufacturing a controlled substance, utility records, receipts, envelopes, letters, keys, and other indicia of control, ownership, of said residence....
Id. ¶ 1-2 (emphasis added).

Idaho State Police executed the search warrant on August 2, 2007. Gov't Ex. L ¶ 9, Dkt. 41-16. Detective Ward pulled Jones over in his car and showed him the original search warrant; Detective Ward then provided him with a copy. Id. He then asked Jones to follow him to the residence while the police searched the house. Id.

Detective N. Corder took pre- and post-search video of the residence and took digital photos of all evidence found in the residence and in the backyard. Id. Mrs. Jones showed detectives the location of a gallon-sized Ziploc bag containing marijuana and several small plastic bags in the bedroom. Id. ¶ 1, 9. While the detectives were securing the residence, they also located in the master bedroom a British 303 bolt-action rifle, a smaller Ziploc bag containing 2.3 grams marijuana, 6.4 grams rolled marijuana cigarettes, a colored glass pipe, digital electronic scales, a tan pill bottle containing marijuana seeds, a tan pill bottle with mixed pills, four pill bottles in the name of Todd Jones, a horticultural lamp, a four foot light with a hood, two hi-capacity magazines, and proof of residency for both Todd and Susan Jones. Id. ¶ 9-12.

In the kitchen Detectives found 67.7 grams marijuana in a Starbucks paper bag. Id. ¶ 12. Mrs. Jones also provided detectives with the key to a gun safe located in the kitchen. Inside the safe detectives found a Beretta 22 Cal long rifle semi-automatic handgun with four rounds in the magazine, a Smith and Wesson 357 revolver loaded with six 357 magnum rounds, and a U.S. 9mm SMG frame, barrel and stock. Id. The safe also held six live 357 magnum rounds, eight spent 357 casings, and an orange plastic ammo box containing thirteen live rounds of 357 magnum rounds and thirteen spent casings. Id. A black wallet containing identification for Todd Jones was also located in the safe, along with additional proof of residence for both Todd and Susan Jones. Id. Detectives also located a two-foot tall marijuana plant in the backyard. Id.

The grand jury indicted Jones on May 14, 2008. Indictment, Criminal[1] Dkt. 1. The indictment charged Jones with four counts: (1) possession of a firearm, a U.S., M-345-caliber machine gun, not registered in the national firearm registration and transfer record in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d); (2) possession of three firearms-the machine gun, a Beretta 22-caliuber semi-automatic pistol, and a Smith and Wesson 357-caliber revolver-by a person convicted of a felony in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(1)(D); (3) possession of a British 303 bolt-action rifle in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922 (g)(1) and 924(a)(1)(D); and (4) Criminal Forfeiture of all the firearms and ammunition pursuant to 18 U.S.C § 924(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 2461(c). Id. The defendant was released at arraignment on a bond pending trial. Arraignment, Criminal Dkt. 4.

Thomas Monaghan took over as defense counsel for Jones on September 4, 2008. Notice, Criminal Dkt. 14. On December 16, 2008, Jones entered into a written plea agreement. Gov't Ex. A, Plea Agmt., Dkt. 41-1. In the Plea Agreement, Jones waived his right to a direct appeal or to collaterally attack his judgment and conviction through a § 2255 in exchange for the Government dropping two counts of the indictment. Id. ¶¶ 2, 9. However, Jones retained the right to file one motion under § 2255 for "ineffective assistance of counsel based solely on information not known to the defendant at the time the district court imposed sentence and which, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have been known by the defendant at that time." Id. ¶ 9. Under the plea agreement, the government stated it would recommend at sentencing that Jones receive credit for acceptance of responsibility. Id. ¶ 1.

On January 6, 2009, Jones pled guilty to Counts Two and Four of the indictment. Gov't Ex. ¶ 29:19-21, Dkt. 41-2. In order to determine Jones's competency during the change of plea hearing, the magistrate judge asked Jones a series of questions. Id. Jones told the Magistrate Judge that he had completed high school and that he could "read, write and understand the English language without difficulty." Id. ¶ 4. Jones also informed the Magistrate Judge that he had taken half his normal dosage of prescription drugs that morning. Id. ¶ 4. On a follow up question, Jones clarified that the medications would not interfere with his ability to understand the proceedings. Id. ¶ 4-5. Jones stated that the purpose of the hearing was to "accept responsibility for [his] crime." Id. ¶ 5.

However, Jones's counsel, Mr. Monaghan expressed that he had a "slight concern" regarding the competency of his client. Id. As an explanation for his concerns, Mr. Monaghan referenced Jones's history of mental health issues and other serious medical conditions that required medication. Id. Mr. Monaghan stated that although he had these concerns, it was his impression that Jones was competent to proceed based on "prior conversations with him and meeting with him." Id.

Based on these concerns, the Magistrate Judge continued to question Jones regarding his medications and medical history. Id. ¶ 6. Jones stated that his doctors and health care providers had not indicated any concerns about his competency. Id. Jones also stated that he had no concerns about his ability to understand the change of plea hearing, and he stated he "understood fully." Id. ¶ 7.

After these answers, the Magistrate Judge asked Mr. Monaghan if he still had concerns regarding Jones's competency to proceed. Id. Mr. Monaghan stated that "in his opinion, [Jones was able] to respond to the Court's questions intelligently." Id. ¶ 8. Mr. Monaghan stated that although he was "concerned about some of [Jones'] demeanor" earlier that day, he believed Jones could proceed under the competency standard. Id. Mr. Monaghan stated that he believed Jones was "able to comprehend the nature of the proceedings" and could assist in his representation. Id. Mr. Monaghan then recommended that the Court proceed with the change of plea hearing. Id.

Mr. Monaghan indicated to the Court that Jones had not been feeling well that morning due to his physical ailments. Id. Mr. Monaghan stated he did not believe this would affect Jones's competency. Id. The Magistrate Judge told Jones that if he felt it was necessary the Court could give him a period of time to feel better before proceeding and could reconvene the next day. Id. Jones responded that he felt fine enough to continue through the hearing. Id. The Magistrate Judge then found Jones competent based on her previous conversation with both Jones and Mr. Monaghan and her own observations. Id. ¶ 9. The Magistrate Judge told Jones that if he started to feel differently during the rest of the proceeding to ...

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