U.S. v. Roane

Decision Date09 August 2004
Docket NumberNo. 03-27.,No. 03-25.,No. 03-26.,No. 03-13.,03-13.,03-25.,03-26.,03-27.
Citation378 F.3d 382
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. James H. ROANE, Jr., Defendant-Appellee. United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. James H. Roane, Jr., Defendant-Appellant. United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Cory Johnson, Defendant-Appellant. United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Richard Tipton, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, James R. Spencer, J.

Nos. 03-13 & 03-25.

ARGUED:

Robert John Erickson, Criminal Division, Appellate Section, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., for Appellant/Cross-Appellee. Paul Francis Enzinna, Baker Botts, Washington, D.C., for Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

ON BRIEF:

Paul J. McNulty, United States Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia; G. Wingate Grant, Assistant United States Attorney, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellant/Cross Appellee. Michael J. Barta, Jamie Kilberg, Cheryl Crumpton, Baker Botts, Washington, D.C., for Appellee/Cross-Appellant. No. 03-26.

ARGUED:

Barbara Lynn Hartung, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellant. Robert John Erickson, Criminal Division, Appellate Section, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Edward E. Scher, Thorsen & Scher, L.L.P., Richmond, Virginia, for Appellant. Paul J. McNulty, United States Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia; G. Wingate Grant, Assistant United States Attorney, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellee. No. 03-27.

ARGUED:

Stephen Atherton Northup, Troutman Sanders, L.L.P., Richmond, Virginia, for Appellant. Robert John Erickson, Criminal Division, Appellate Section, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., for Appellee. ON BRIEF:

ON BRIEF:

Frederick R. Gerson, Robinson & Gerson, P.C., Richmond, Virginia, for Appellant. Paul J. McNulty, United States Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia; G. Wingate Grant, Assistant United States Attorney, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellee.

Before WILKINSON, KING, and DUNCAN, Circuit Judges.

Affirmed in part and reversed in part by published opinion. Judge KING wrote the opinion, in which Judge WILKINSON and Judge DUNCAN joined.

OPINION

KING, Circuit Judge:

In February 1993, James Roane, Cory Johnson, and Richard Tipton were convicted in the Eastern District of Virginia for an array of criminal activity, including several capital murders, arising out of drug-trafficking operations in and near Richmond. Each received at least one death sentence for his crimes, plus various terms of imprisonment. After unavailing direct appeals to this Court, United States v. Tipton, 90 F.3d 861 (4th Cir.1996), Roane, Johnson, and Tipton (the "Defendants") sought habeas corpus relief in the district court. The Government sought summary judgment on their claims, which the district court awarded, except for two claims raised by Roane. See United States v. Tipton, No. 3:92CR68 (E.D.Va. May 1, 2003) (the "Opinion"). After discovery proceedings and an evidentiary hearing on Roane's remaining two claims, the court granted relief on his Sixth Amendment claim of ineffective assistance of counsel ("IAC claim"), vacating Roane's convictions and sentences relating to the murder of Douglas Moody. See United States v. Roane, No. 3:92CR68 (E.D.Va. May 1, 2003) (the "Roane Opinion"). Finally, the court rejected Roane's claim of actual innocence of the Moody murder. Id.

We are now presented with four separate appeals, which we have consolidated. In Appeal No. 03-13, the Government appeals the district court's award of relief to Roane on his Sixth Amendment IAC claim. In No. 03-25, Roane cross-appeals the court's rulings in favor of the Government on certain of his other claims. And in Nos. 03-26 and 03-27, Johnson and Tipton appeal the award of summary judgment to the Government on certain of their claims. As explained below, we affirm the rulings in favor of the Government in Nos. 03-25, 03-26, and 03-27, and we reverse the award of relief to Roane in No. 03-13.

I.
A.

In our comprehensive 1996 opinion rejecting the Defendants' direct appeals, Judge Phillips aptly summarized the relevant facts underlying the prosecution of Johnson, Tipton, and Roane. See Tipton, 90 F.3d at 868-70. Because we are unable to improve on that summary, it is set forth in haec verba:

Recounted in summary form and in the light most favorable to the Government, the core evidence revealed the following. Tipton, Roane, and Cory Johnson were principal "partners" in a substantial drug-trafficking conspiracy that lasted from 1989 through July of 1992. The conspiracy's operations began in Trenton, New Jersey where Johnson and Tipton, both from New York City, became members. In August of 1990, the conspiracy expanded its operations to Richmond, Virginia where Roane joined the conspiracy in November of 1991. The Trenton-based operation came to an end on June 4, 1991 when police confiscated a large quantity of crack cocaine and firearms. In late 1991, the conspiracy's operations were expanded from the Central Gardens area of Richmond to a second area in Richmond called Newtowne.

During the period of the conspiracy's operation, its "partners", including appellants, obtained wholesale quantities of powdered cocaine from suppliers in New York City, converted it by "cooking" [it] into crack cocaine, then packaged it, divided it among themselves, and distributed it through a network of 30-40 street level dealers, "workers." Typically, the appellants and their other partners in the conspiracy's operations took two-thirds of the proceeds realized from street-level sales of their product.

Over a short span of time in early 1992, Tipton, Cory Johnson, and Roane were variously implicated in the murders of ten persons within the Richmond area — all in relation to their drug-trafficking operation and either because their victims were suspected of treachery or other misfeasance, or because they were competitors in the drug trade, or because they had personally offended one of the "partners."

On January 4, 1992, Tipton and Roane drove Douglas Talley, an underling in disfavor for mishandling a drug transaction, to the south side of Richmond. Once there, Roane grabbed Talley from the rear while Tipton stabbed him repeatedly. The attack lasted three to five minutes and involved the infliction of eighty-four stab wounds to Talley's head, neck, and upper body that killed him.

On the evening of January 13, 1992, Tipton and Roane went to the apartment of Douglas Moody, a suspected rival in their drug-trafficking area, where Tipton shot Moody twice in the back. After Moody fled by jumping through a window, both Tipton and Roane pursued. Roane, armed with a military-style knife retrieved from an apartment where the knife was kept for co-conspirator Curtis Thorne, caught up with Moody in the front yard of the apartment where he stabbed him eighteen times, killing him.

On the night of January 14, 1992, Roane, Cory Johnson, and a third person retrieved a bag of guns that they had left at an apartment earlier that day. Roane then located Peyton Johnson, another rival drug dealer, at a tavern. Shortly after Roane left the tavern, Cory Johnson entered with another person and fatally shot Peyton Johnson with a semiautomatic weapon.

On January 29, 1992, Roane pulled his car around the corner of an alley, got out of the vehicle, approached Louis Johnson, whom appellant Johnson thought had threatened him while acting as bodyguard for a rival dealer, and shot him. Cory Johnson and co-conspirator Lance Thomas then got out of Roane's car and began firing at Louis Johnson. As Louis Johnson lay on the ground, either Cory Johnson or Thomas shot him twice at close range. Louis Johnson died from some or all of these gunshot wounds.

On the evening of February 1, 1992, Cory Johnson and Lance Thomas were told that Roane had gone to the apartment of Torrick Brown, with whom Roane had been having trouble. Johnson and Thomas armed themselves with semiautomatic weapons and went to the apartment where they joined appellant Roane outside. The three then knocked on Brown's door and asked his half-sister, Martha McCoy, if Brown was there. She summoned Brown to the door and Cory Johnson, Roane, and Thomas opened fire with semiautomatic weapons, killing Brown and critically wounding McCoy.

In late January, 1992, after being threatened by Cory Johnson for not paying for a supply of crack cocaine, Dorothy Armstrong went to live with her brother, Bobby Long. On February 1, Cory Johnson learned from Jerry Gaiters the location of Long's house. Thereafter, Tipton and an unidentified "young fellow" picked up Gaiters and Cory Johnson who were then driven by Tipton to a house where the group obtained a bag of guns. After dropping off the unidentified third party, the group proceeded to Long's house. Upon arriving at Long's house, Cory Johnson and Gaiters got out of the car and approached the house. While Tipton waited in the car, Cory Johnson and Gaiters went to the front door. When Long opened the door, Cory Johnson opened fire, killing both Dorothy Armstrong and one Anthony Carter. Bobby Long fled out the front door, but was fatally shot by Cory Johnson in the front yard.

In early February 1992, Cory Johnson began to suspect that Linwood Chiles was cooperating with the police. On February 19, 1992, Johnson borrowed Valerie Butler's automobile and arranged to meet with Chiles. That night, Chiles, Curtis Thorne, and sisters Priscilla and Gwen Greene met Cory Johnson and drove off together in Chiles's station wagon. Chiles parked the car in an alley, and Tipton soon drove in behind it in another car, got out, and came up alongside the stationwagon. With Tipton standing by, Cory...

To continue reading

Request your trial
704 cases
  • Siers-Hill v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Virginia
    • 15 Junio 2020
    ...either prong of the Strickland test renders it unnecessary for a reviewing court to consider the other element. United States v. Roane, 378 F.3d 382, 404 (4th Cir. 2004). The first prong requires that the petitioner show that counsel's performance fell below an objective standard of reasona......
  • Rowsey v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Virginia
    • 29 Diciembre 2014
    ...to prove either of the two prongs of the Strickland test, the Court need not evaluate the other prong of the test. United States v. Roane, 378 F.3d 382, 404 (4th Cir.2004).III. DISCUSSIONIn his motion, Petitioner requests that the Court vacate his sentence because his counsel provided ineff......
  • Fowler v. Branker
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of North Carolina
    • 26 Marzo 2013
    ...failed to prove prejudice under Strickland. See Gardner v. Ozmint, 511 F.3d 420, 429 n.3 (4th Cir. 2007) (citing United States v. Roane, 378 F.3d 382, 409 n.15 (4th Cir. 2004); Williams v. Kelly, 816 F.2d 939, 946-47 (4th Cir. 1987)).CONCLUSION IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Fowler's Petiti......
  • Higgs v. U.S.A
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Maryland
    • 6 Abril 2010
    ...drug charges against Gloria, if indeed that is what happened, had any connection with Higgs' conviction and sentence. See U.S. v. Roane, 378 F.3d 382, 400-401 (2004) (finding that “airy generalities [and] conclusory assertions” are not sufficient to meet the defendant's burden in a § 2255 c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 books & journal articles
  • Strategery's refuge.
    • United States
    • Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Vol. 99 No. 4, September 2009
    • 22 Septiembre 2009
    ...[check] 118 Fed. App'x 706 (4th Cir. 2004) 23. Kandies v. Polk, [check] 385 F.3d 457 (4th Cir. 2004) 24. United States v. Roane, [check] 378 F.3d 382 (4th Cir. 2004) 25. Richmond v. Polk, [check] 375 F.3d 309 (4th Cir. 2004) 26. Bailey v. True, [check] 100 Fed. App'x 128 (4th Cir. 2004) 27.......
  • Trials
    • United States
    • Georgetown Law Journal No. 110-Annual Review, August 2022
    • 1 Agosto 2022
    ...instruct jury about unanimity in conviction of felon-in-possession of f‌irearm and ammunition not 6th Amendment violation); U.S. v. Roane, 378 F.3d 382, 398-99 (4th Cir. 2004) (failure to instruct jury about unanimity procedural defect not 6th Amendment violation); U.S. v. Hendrickson, 822 ......
  • The Racial Geography of the Federal Death Penalty
    • United States
    • University of Washington School of Law University of Washington Law Review No. 85-3, March 2016
    • Invalid date
    ...2010). 156. See Appendix 2, supra note 26, at 402E, 403E, 405E, 438E. 157.Id. at 402G, 403G, 405G, 438G. 158. See United States v. Roane, 378 F.3d 382, 389 (4th Cir. 2004) (discussing Richmond city defendants Corey Johnson, James Roane, and Richard Tipton); United States v. Hager, 521 F. Su......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT