United States District Court, D. Idaho
LYNN WINMILL U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
before the Court is Petitioner Stephen Roy Walker's
Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or
Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody. Civ. Dkt. 1.
The motion is fully briefed and at issue. For the reasons
that follow, the Court will deny the motion and dismiss the
action without a hearing. The Court will not issue a
certificate of appealability.
February 19, 2014, Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale approved a
warrant allowing law enforcement officials to search the
hotel room and personal vehicle of Petitioner Stephen Roy
Walker. Civ. Dkt. 8-7 at 1. The Application for Search
Warrant was based upon the affidavit of Special Agent Daren
Boyd. Id. at 2. In his affidavit, Special Agent Boyd
described how Mr. Walker had used a photo-sharing website to
trade in images of minors engaged in sexually explicit
conduct. Id. at 10-14. In performing the
investigation Special Agent Boyd obtained subscriber
information and Internet Protocol (IP) address records for
Mr. Walker from the Yahoo! Inc. Custodian of Records.
Id. at 15-16. This information uncovered further
emails from Mr. Walker to a Craigslist account user.
Id. at 19-27. In these emails, Mr. Walker offered to
introduce his young child to the Craigslist user and sent
sexually suggestive images of the child. Id. Special
Agent Boyd eventually linked Mr. Walker's IP addresses to
the hotel room where he was staying in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Id. at 34-35.
Agent Boyd served the search warrant on February 20, 2014,
and Mr. Walker then agreed to travel with him to the Twin
Falls Police Department for an interview. Civ. Dkt. 8-2 at
2. At the police station, Mr. Walker requested an
attorney. Id. at 3. Special Agent Boyd asked if he
should contact a public defender to which Mr. Walker replied,
“Yes, I think the sooner the better.”
Id. at 3-4. Mr. Walker then said he had a business
card for an attorney in his wallet, which was still at his
hotel room, but that he did not have the funds to pay for an
attorney. Id. at 4. Special Agent Boyd contacted the
Federal Public Defender's Office, who connected him with
attorney Andrew Parnes. Id. at 5-6. Mr. Walker asked
how the attorney would be paid, and Special Agent Boyd
explained that the government would pay Mr. Parnes if Mr.
Walker was unable to do so. Id. at 6.
to the search warrant, federal agents discovered numerous
images and videos of child pornography from Mr. Walker's
external hard drive in his hotel room. Civ. Dkt. 8-2 at 7,
¶ 17. In total, agents recovered 540 digital images and
46 videos depicting child pornography. Crim. Dkt. 27 at 4.
These files included images and videos depicting one of Mr.
Walker's children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Id. at 8-9, ¶ 21. Several of the video and
image files depicted Mr. Walker sexually assaulting the
child. Id. After arriving at the station, Mr. Parnes
spoke with Special Agent Boyd and was given a copy of the
search warrant and supporting affidavit. Civ. Dkt. 8-1 at 1,
review, Mr. Parnes concluded that there was no basis to
challenge the search warrant. Id. at ¶ 8. At
that time, Mr. Parnes also reviewed the pornographic material
that had been seized. Id. at 2, ¶ 11.
Parnes and Mr. Walker then discussed the possibility of
cooperation with law enforcement. Civ. Dkt. 8-1 at 2, ¶
10. Mr. Parnes counseled Mr. Walker that should he decide to
cooperate, he would need to tell the whole truth.
Id. Mr. Parnes further advised Mr. Walker that he
might receive significant benefits under the sentencing
guidelines for his cooperation. Id. To facilitate
cooperation, a Government attorney emailed a proffer
agreement letter to Mr. Parnes, which he reviewed with Mr.
Walker. Id. at ¶ 9. The proffer agreement
stated, in pertinent part:
No Direct Use: The United States agrees that
information contained in your client's proffer may not be
used in the government's case-in-chief against your
client, in the event he decides to go to trial in the matter
Sentencing Information: Your client understands that
since he is likely to be indicted, or charged by information
if he eventually decides to waive the right to indictment,
the United States, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3661, must
provide to your client's sentencing judge the contents of
the proffer. Pursuant to USSG § 1B1.8, however, the
proffer may not be used to determine the appropriate
Civ. Dkt. 8-5 at 2. Mr. Walker agreed to cooperate with the
government agents under the terms of the proffer letter. Civ.
Dkt. 8-1 at 2, ¶ 13. Information from the proffer
interviews would eventually be included in Mr. Walker's
Presentence Investigation Report (PSR). Crim. Dkt. 36 at
25-26, ¶ 25-33.
signing the proffer agreement, Mr. Walker provided a
statement to government agents at the police station with Mr.
Parnes present. Civ. Dkt. 8-1 at 2, ¶ 13. During the
conversation, Special Agent Boyd mentioned a digital camera
that had not been recovered in the initial search of the
hotel room. Civ. Dkt. 8-2 at 10, ¶ 23. Mr. Walker told
Special Agent Boyd where the digital camera was located and
consented to police re-entering the hotel room, where they
found the camera. Civ. Dkt. 8-2 at 10, ¶ 23.
Pornographic images and videos were located on the digital
camera; however, the files were duplicates of those that had
already been found on Mr. Walker's external hard drive
and had no impact on his sentence. Id. at ¶ 24.
September 10, 2015, a grand jury returned a five-count
indictment charging Mr. Walker with three counts of Sexual
Exploitation of Children under 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a), one
count of Transportation of Child Pornography under 18 U.S.C.
§ 2252(a)(1), and one count of Possession of Child
Pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(5)(B). Crim. Dkt.
1. Mr. Parnes represented Mr. Walker throughout the criminal
proceeding. Civ. Dkt. 8-1 at 2-3, ¶ 16.
his representation, Mr. Parnes grew concerned about Mr.
Walker's mental state. Id. at 3, ¶ 18. Mr.
Parnes filed a Motion for Competency Hearing based on his
concern. Crim. Dkt. 11. The Court ordered a psychological
evaluation and report. Crim. Dkt. 14. After reviewing the
report and the case history, the Court found that Mr. Walker
was competent and allowed proceedings to continue. Crim. Dkt.
July, 2016, the Government and Mr. Walker reached a Plea
Agreement. Crim. Dkt. 27. Mr. Walker agreed to plead guilty
to the counts for Transportation and Possession of Child
Pornography, while the Sexual Exploitation of Children counts
were dropped. Id. at 2. The parties agreed that the
following United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.)
sections applied to the case:
a. 22 (base offense level under USSG § 2G2.2(a)(2));
b. (material involving prepubescent minor under USSG