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Weast v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

January 23, 2018

CHRISTOPHER ROBERT WEAST, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN McBRYDE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Came on for consideration the motion of Christopher Robert Weast ("movant") under 28 U.S.C. § 22 55 to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence. After having considered such motion, its supporting memorandum, the government's response, the reply, and pertinent parts of the record in Case No. 4:14-CR-023-A, styled "United States of America v. Christopher Robert Weast, " the court has concluded that the motion should be denied.

         I.

         Background

         Information contained in the record of the underlying criminal case discloses the following:

         On February 12, 2014, movant was named in a one-count indictment; on May 14, 2014, movant was named in a two-count superseding indictment; on June 11, 2014, movant was named in a two-count second superseding indictment; and, on July 1, 2014, movant was named in a two-count third superseding indictment. CR Docs.[1] 1, 57, 85, 10 3. The third superseding indictment charged movant with possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(5)(B) and 2252A(b)(2), and receipt of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(2)(A) and 2252A(b)(1). CR Doc. 103.

         Throughout the course of the proceedings (and continuing to date), movant filed numerous frivolous papers. He refused to cooperate with counsel and a court-appointed forensic examiner, denied that he was the true defendant, filed counterclaims against the government, moved to dismiss the charges based on purported lack of jurisdiction, sought emergency writs and stays, and requested the "bond policy numbers" of the prosecutor, probation officer, defense counsel, and presiding judges. See, e.g., CR DOCS. 26, 33, 35, 38-41, 46, 49-50, 54-56, 59, 61, 75, 95, 96, 98, 100, 127, 135-37, 147-48, 153, 155, 159, 166, 175-81, 197-99, 201-03, 216-17, 219, 229-33, .236-39, 247-49, 251-56, 264, 266-70, 272-81, 285-90, 292, 319-21, 323-77, 388-95, 397-446, 448.

         The court, through the magistrate judge, initially determined that movant had knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to representation by court-appointed counsel and allowed movant to represent himself. CR Doc. 43. The judge then presiding recused and the case was assigned to the docket of the undersigned. CR Doc. 67. The court set a hearing to consider whether movant should be allowed to continue to represent himself. CR Doc. 69. Following the hearing, the government filed a motion for mental competency examination of movant. CR Doc. 77. The court granted the motion and appointed the Federal Public Defender to represent movant in connection with the competency proceedings. CR Doc. 78. At the hearing on July 8, 2014, the forensic psychiatrist appointed to conduct an evaluation of movant testified that movant had the ability to control his conduct but chose to engage in conduct designed to obstruct the proceedings. CR Doc. 110 at 24. The court determined that it could not find from the evidence that movant was incompetent. CR Doc. 110 at 28. And, the court appointed the Federal Public Defender to represent movant at trial, since it appeared that movant would not be able to participate in the trial in the courtroom, given his conduct. CR Doc. 110 at 39-40; CR Doc. 125 (explaining in detail movant's conduct up to that time).

         Trial was conducted on July 2 8 and 29, 2014. CR Docs. 204, 209. On July 29, 2017, the jury returned its verdict of guilty as to each count of the third superseding indictment and a special verdict as to items to be forfeited. CR Docs. 211, 213. Movant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 0 months as to count one and 240 months as to count two, to run consecutively for a total of 360 months' imprisonment, CR Doc. 2 83. Movant appealed and his judgment was affirmed. United States v. Weast, 811 F.3d 743 (5th Cir. 2016). The Supreme Court denied his petition for writ of certiorari. 137 S.Ct. 126 (2016).

         II.

         Grounds of the Motion

         In his motion, movant sets forth four grounds for relief. Doc.[2] 1. They are:

(1) Movant was denied his right to effective assistance of counsel as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
(2) The trial court erred when it increased Movant's base sentencing guideline range five levels for distribution and exchanging pornographic materials and exchanging for a thing of value pursuant to USSG § 2G2.1.
(3) The trial court erred in refusing to let defense counsel ask a computer expert for the defense whether or not there were viruses on Movant's confiscated computer.

Id. at 7.

(4) Movant's sentence is substantively unreasonable and excessive.

Id. at 8.

         In the supporting memorandum attached to the motion, movant asserts ...


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