U.S. v. Edwards, No. 04-31210.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtKing
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Edwin EDWARDS, Defendant-Appellant. United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Andrew Martin, Defendant-Appellant. United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Stephen Edwards, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date01 March 2006
Docket NumberNo. 04-31210.,No. 04-31212.,No. 04-31219.

Page 258

442 F.3d 258
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Edwin EDWARDS, Defendant-Appellant.
United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Andrew Martin, Defendant-Appellant.
United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Stephen Edwards, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 04-31210.
No. 04-31212.
No. 04-31219.
United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.
March 1, 2006.

Page 259

Stephen A. Higginson, Asst. U.S. Atty. (argued), New Orleans, LA, for U.S.

Amy M. Adelson (argued), Nathan Z. Dershowitz, Dershowitz, Eiger, Adelson, New York City, Michael S. Fawer, Covington, LA, J. Michael Small, Law Offices of J. Michael Small, Alexandria, LA, for Edwin and Stephen Edwards.

Servando C. Garcia, III, Garcia & Bishop, Metairie, LA, for Martin.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.

Before KING, BARKSDALE and PRADO, Circuit Judges.

KING, Circuit Judge:


In this consolidated appeal, appellants Edwin Edwards, Stephen Edwards, and Andrew Martin challenge the district court's denial of their motions to vacate their sentences pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and the district court's denial of an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the government withheld exculpatory evidence during their criminal trial in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963). They also appeal the district court's denial of their motions for leave to amend their § 2255 motions after the one-year statute of limitations had expired to add a constitutional claim in light of United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 125 S.Ct. 738, 160 L.Ed.2d 621 (2005). For the reasons stated below, we AFFIRM.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A. Criminal Proceedings

Four-term Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, his son Stephen Edwards, and his executive assistant Andrew Martin (collectively, "Appellants"), along with several of their associates, were indicted on thirty-four federal counts by superseding indictments on August 4, 1999, for their roles in a number of illegal activities designed to profit from awarding riverboat gambling licenses while Edwin Edwards was governor. The superseding indictments alleged that Appellants had conspired in five separate "schemes" to extort money from individuals who had applied to the Louisiana Riverboat Gaming Commission for a limited number of licenses to operate riverboat casinos along Louisiana's Gulf Coast and Lake Charles. In exchange for cash bribes, Appellants promised to use Governor Edwards's influence with the Riverboat Gaming Commission to help applicants obtain preliminary approval for the riverboat gambling licenses they sought; for those applicants who refused to pay, Appellants threatened to make obtaining a license impossible. Appellants then attempted to launder the extorted

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money to cover up their criminal activities. At their arraignments on August 24, 1999, Appellants entered pleas of not guilty.

On May 9, 2000, after a four-month trial in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, the jury returned its verdict. Appellants were convicted of, inter alia, violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), RICO conspiracy, extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, wire and mail fraud, conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

On January 8, 2001, Appellants were sentenced under the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Governor Edwards was sentenced to 120 months and Stephen Edwards was sentenced to 84 months, and they were fined $250,000 and $60,000, respectively. Andrew Martin received 68 months and a $50,000 fine. A forfeiture order in the amount of $1.8 million was entered against each appellant. While all three sentences were within the Guidelines, they included enhancements for the amount of intended loss, and Governor Edwards's and Stephen Edwards's sentences also included enhancements for their roles in the offenses.

Appellants appealed their convictions and sentences to this court, which affirmed the district court's judgment on August 23, 2002. United States v. Edwards, 303 F.3d 606, 647 (5th Cir.2002). This court subsequently denied Appellants' petition for rehearing en banc. United States v. Edwards, 51 Fed.Appx. 485 (5th Cir.2002). On February 24, 2003, the Supreme Court denied Governor and Stephen Edwards's petition for writ of certiorari. Edwards v. United States, 537 U.S. 1192, 123 S.Ct. 1272, 154 L.Ed.2d 1025 (2003). The Court denied Andrew Martin's petition for writ of certiorari on March 3, 2003. Martin v. United States, 537 U.S. 1240, 123 S.Ct. 1369, 155 L.Ed.2d 209 (2003).

B. Post-Conviction Proceedings

1. Section 2255 Proceedings

On February 18, 2004, Appellants timely filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana cross-incorporated post-conviction motions to vacate their sentences under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, alleging six separate grounds for relief and requesting an evidentiary hearing. Two of these grounds, which are now before this court on appeal, alleged that during Appellants' trial the government withheld impeachment evidence relating to two of its key witnesses, Robert Guidry and John Brotherton, in violation of Appellants' due process rights under Brady, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215.

a) Robert Guidry's Plea Agreement

In their § 2255 motions, Appellants asserted that the government violated their due process rights under Brady when it concealed information regarding the plea agreement of Louisiana businessman Robert Guidry, a government witness who had testified against Appellants pursuant to a grant of immunity. Appellants further maintained that Guidry gave false testimony concerning the scope of his plea agreement and that the government failed to correct it in violation of Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264, 270, 79 S.Ct. 1173, 3 L.Ed.2d 1217 (1959).

Appellants asserted that at their trial, the government relied heavily on Guidry's testimony to convict Appellants on counts related to the so-called "Treasure Chest Scheme." Guidry, the owner of the Treasure Chest Riverboat Casino, testified that in 1994 he had agreed to pay Appellants $100,000 per month in exchange for a license hearing before the Riverboat Gaming Commission. Guidry received a license

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and, after Governor Edwards left office in 1996, began making the monthly cash payments of $100,000. Guidry testified that between February 1996 and April 1997 he paid a total of $1.4-$1.5 million to Appellants.

Guidry gave this testimony in exchange for immunity from further prosecution pursuant to a written plea agreement with the federal government. Per the agreement, at his October 16, 1998, arraignment, Guidry pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion related to the "Treasure Chest Scheme" in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. The agreement also required that he forfeit $3 million and pay $250,000 in restitution and $250,000 in fines, capping his total financial liability to the federal government at $3.5 million.1 In addition, Guidry received state immunity in an October 15, 1998, letter to Eddie Jordan, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, signed by East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Doug Moreau. In this letter, Moreau promised that he would "defer to federal prosecution in the matter [and] grant [Guidry] immunity for crimes he may have committed concerning the Louisiana Riverboat Gaming Industry and specifically the Treasure Chest riverboat casino." Def. § 2255 Exh. tab 2. Guidry's plea agreement specified that "the statements set forth above represent the entire agreement with the government, any prior oral discussions or written letters do not affect this agreement." Def. § 2255 Exh. tab 1 at 4. The government produced Guidry's written plea agreement and the Moreau letter to Appellants prior to the beginning of Appellants' criminal trial.

On October 7, 1999, the Louisiana Attorney General, on behalf of the state of Louisiana, filed a civil suit in state court against Guidry. The state sought damages arising from Guidry's illegal dealings with Appellants, including all of the profits resulting from Guidry's breach of fiduciary duty and the value of his gaming license. Shortly before the beginning of Appellants' criminal trial, the district court stayed the state action against Guidry pending the outcome of Appellants' trial. During Appellants' trial, Guidry testified that, although his financial liability to the federal government was capped at $3.5 million, his overall financial exposure was possibly much greater because he had "two or three lawsuits that's [sic] pending against all this money." 120 R. at 214. After Appellants' trial and convictions, Guidry was sentenced in federal court consistent with his plea agreement on January 17, 2001.2

Soon thereafter, the state of Louisiana proceeded with its civil suit against Guidry. In support of his motion for a preliminary injunction, Guidry's defense attorneys argued that the immunity provisions set forth in the Moreau letter should be construed under Louisiana law to include immunity from state civil suit for money damages as well as from state criminal prosecution. At a June 26, 2003, hearing on the motion, Guidry's attorneys attempted to elicit testimony from the federal and state prosecutors involved in the plea

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agreement to support this civil immunity theory. The state court judge denied the preliminary injunction on the ground that, given the testimony from the hearing, "there was simply no meeting of the minds" regarding an agreement to extend civil immunity to Guidry. Def. § 2255 Exh. tab 16 at 5.

Despite the state court's finding, Appellants, citing newly discovered evidence of a Brady violation, built on Guidry's civil immunity theory a year later during their § 2255 proceedings. They argued...

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  • United States v. Vasquez-Hernandez, No. 3:17–CR–02660–KC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • June 10, 2018
    ...their arguments are devoid of detail and are largely conclusory. That does not suffice to show materiality. See United States v. Edwards , 442 F.3d 258, 268 n.10 (5th Cir. 2006) (rejecting a Brady claim where the appellant offered only "speculative and conclusory allegations" as to the mate......
  • Banks v. Thaler, No. 08-70019.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 18, 2009
    ..."the part[y] alleging a Brady violation[ ] ha[s] the burden of establishing all three prongs of the Brady test", United States v. Edwards, 442 F.3d 258, 267 n. 9 (5th Cir. 2006), it is the Dissent, and not Banks, which has sua sponte reintroduced the guilt-phase Farr Brady claim into this a......
  • U.S. v. Moody, Criminal Action No. 06-204.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • March 6, 2009
    ...however, if the prisoner fails to produce any "independent indicia of the likely merit of [his] allegations." United States v. Edwards, 442 F.3d 258, 264 (5th Cir.2006) (quoting United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1110 (5th Cir.1998)); see also United States v. Cavitt, 550 F.3d 430, ......
  • United States v. Kayode, No. 12–20513.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • December 23, 2014
    ...his motion for a COA in all other respects. II. Our review “is limited to the issues enumerated in the COA.” United States v. Edwards, 442 F.3d 258, 264 (5th Cir.2006) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)). In reviewing a district court's denial of a § 2255 motion, we review the district court's ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
262 cases
  • United States v. Vasquez-Hernandez, No. 3:17–CR–02660–KC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • June 10, 2018
    ...their arguments are devoid of detail and are largely conclusory. That does not suffice to show materiality. See United States v. Edwards , 442 F.3d 258, 268 n.10 (5th Cir. 2006) (rejecting a Brady claim where the appellant offered only "speculative and conclusory allegations" as to the mate......
  • Banks v. Thaler, No. 08-70019.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 18, 2009
    ..."the part[y] alleging a Brady violation[ ] ha[s] the burden of establishing all three prongs of the Brady test", United States v. Edwards, 442 F.3d 258, 267 n. 9 (5th Cir. 2006), it is the Dissent, and not Banks, which has sua sponte reintroduced the guilt-phase Farr Brady claim into this a......
  • U.S. v. Moody, Criminal Action No. 06-204.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • March 6, 2009
    ...however, if the prisoner fails to produce any "independent indicia of the likely merit of [his] allegations." United States v. Edwards, 442 F.3d 258, 264 (5th Cir.2006) (quoting United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1110 (5th Cir.1998)); see also United States v. Cavitt, 550 F.3d 430, ......
  • United States v. Kayode, No. 12–20513.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • December 23, 2014
    ...his motion for a COA in all other respects. II. Our review “is limited to the issues enumerated in the COA.” United States v. Edwards, 442 F.3d 258, 264 (5th Cir.2006) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)). In reviewing a district court's denial of a § 2255 motion, we review the district court's ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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