Wadlington v. U.S., No. 04-3771.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtRiley
Citation428 F.3d 779
PartiesEuka WADLINGTON, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
Decision Date14 November 2005
Docket NumberNo. 04-3771.
428 F.3d 779
Euka WADLINGTON, Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
No. 04-3771.
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.
Submitted: September 12, 2005.
Filed: November 14, 2005.

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Leonard C. Goodman, argued, Chicago, IL, for appellant.

Clifford R. Cronk, III, argued, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Rock Island, IL (Matthew G. Whitaker, on the brief), for appellee.

Before RILEY, LAY, and FAGG, Circuit Judges.

RILEY, Circuit Judge.


Euka Wadlington (Wadlington) was sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, and for attempted distribution of crack cocaine. On appeal, this court affirmed the conviction and sentence. United States v. Wadlington, 233 F.3d 1067, 1072 (8th Cir.2000). Wadlington then filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The district court1 denied the motion. Wadlington appeals, arguing (1) he is actually innocent, and (2) his sentence is invalid under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000). We affirm the section 2255 motion denial.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Wadlington's Trial and Direct Appeal

Because the facts of this case are set forth in an earlier opinion addressing Wadlington's direct appeal, see Wadlington, 233 F.3d at 1072-73, we only summarize them here. Wadlington was indicted for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, and for attempted distribution of crack cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1). At trial, the government argued that from 1990 to 1998 Wadlington was the leader of a drug organization supplying cocaine and crack cocaine to individuals in Clinton, Iowa. Over ten government witnesses related similar accounts of buying or receiving drugs from Wadlington, selling those drugs and giving Wadlington the proceeds, observing Wadlington sell drugs to others, transporting drugs in laundry detergent boxes from Chicago to Clinton for Wadlington, and watching Wadlington cook crack cocaine and distribute it to others for sale.

The jury also heard evidence concerning Wadlington's attempted distribution of crack cocaine in late 1998. Mark Thomas (Thomas), a government informant, testified he made several recorded telephone

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calls to Wadlington and introduced him to an undercover agent posing as a drug dealer. During conversations with the agent, Wadlington admitted he had been dealing drugs with Thomas for ten years. Thomas arranged for Wadlington to sell one kilogram of cocaine to the agent. On November 13, 1998, Wadlington arrived as planned at a hotel to meet the agent for delivery of the drugs, and he was arrested. No drugs were found during a search of Wadlington's person or vehicle. Following Wadlington's arrest, he remarked some of his acquaintances "must be talking," and asked, "Is Mark Thomas in custody, or is he working with you also?"

The jury found Wadlington guilty of both the conspiracy to distribute and attempted distribution charges. Wadlington was sentenced to life imprisonment and 10 years' supervised release for each count, to be served concurrently. Following an unsuccessful direct appeal, Wadlington petitioned this court for rehearing, arguing for the first time his sentence was invalid under Apprendi, because a specific threshold drug quantity was neither alleged in the indictment nor proven to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt. We denied the petition for rehearing.

B. Wadlington's Section 2255 Motion

Wadlington then filed his motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, asserting six grounds for relief, claiming, inter alia, (1) he is actually innocent of the crimes charged, and (2) his sentence was imposed in violation of Apprendi. Wadlington later supplemented his motion with affidavits from four individuals: Terrance Hood (Hood), Romaine Dukes (Dukes), Charles McMasters (McMasters), and Jesse Puckett (Puckett). Wadlington argued the affidavits constituted newly discovered evidence supporting his claim of actual innocence. The affidavits of Hood, Dukes, and McMasters attempt to discredit the trial testimony of Hood and Tyrone Redmond (Redmond), whereas Puckett's affidavit speaks to Wadlington's lack of involvement with drugs after Wadlington's release from jail in the early 1990s.

At trial, Hood testified about Wadlington's leadership role in the Clinton conspiracy. Hood identified other conspiracy members and testified he observed Wadlington cook crack cocaine at the homes of female acquaintances in Clinton and remove cocaine from a detergent box. Hood also testified (1) Wadlington supplied him and others with drugs for resale, and (2) Hood began selling drugs for Wadlington at the age of fourteen. Hood also testified being physically abused and electrically shocked by Wadlington for making mistakes with the drug money. In contrast to his trial testimony, Hood's affidavit states Wadlington never supplied him with drugs or physically abused him. Hood also claims his false accusations at trial were coerced by government agents who told him he could avoid a life sentence only by implicating Wadlington.

The affidavits of Dukes and McMasters both attack Redmond's trial testimony. At trial, Redmond testified he first began selling cocaine through Wadlington, and repeatedly transported drugs from Chicago to Clinton for Wadlington, in exchange for money. Dukes's affidavit alleges that between August 1999 and April 2001, while Dukes and Redmond were incarcerated in federal prison, Dukes confronted Redmond for testifying against Wadlington and said Redmond knew Wadlington was not involved in the Clinton drug conspiracy. According to Dukes's affidavit, Redmond denied testifying against Wadlington. Similarly, McMasters's affidavit alleges that in early 1999 Redmond stated the government wanted information about

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Wadlington, and Redmond and McMasters could get a reduction in their sentences if they made something up about Wadlington.

The district court denied Wadlington's motion. In rejecting Hood's affidavit, the court noted recantations are "viewed with suspicion" and found no evidence the government knew or should have known Hood's trial testimony was false. The court further held Puckett's affidavit did not constitute new information, reasoning Wadlington failed to explain why Puckett's testimony could not have been presented at trial. Finally, the court concluded the affidavits of Puckett, Dukes, and McMasters did "little to diminish other evidence at trial linking Wadlington to the drug conspiracy." Thus, the court held Wadlington failed to demonstrate his actual innocence. With regard to Wadlington's Apprendi claim, the court ruled Wadlington's sentence was not unconstitutional because the rule announced in Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 124 S.Ct. 2531, 159 L.Ed.2d 403 (2004), which applied Apprendi, was not a watershed rule of criminal procedure and thus did not apply to cases on collateral review.

Following its denial of Wadlington's petition, the district court granted...

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26 practice notes
  • Wadlington v. Werlich, Case No. 17-cv-449-SMY
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • April 7, 2020
    ...New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000) because it failed to specify the drug amount in connection with his charges. Wadlington v. United States, 428 F.3d 779, 784 (8th Cir. 2005) (affirming the denial of Wadlington's § 2255 motion). Reviewing for plain error, the Eighth Circuit agreed that Wadling......
  • Mamou v. Davis, CIVIL ACTION NO. H-14-403
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • December 8, 2016
    ...is impeaching, but is not new, reliable evidence as required to support a valid actual-innocence claim. See Wadlington v. United States, 428 F.3d 779, 784 (8th Cir. 2005) (distinguishing under Schlup between an affidavit that "is, at best, impeachment" and one that "exonerate......
  • Hamilton v. Roehrich, Civ. No. 08-2500 (PAM/RLE).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • April 20, 2009
    ...petitioner must pass to have his otherwise barred constitutional claim considered on the merits.'" Wadlington v. United States, 428 F.3d 779, 783 (8th Cir.2005), cert. denied, 549 U.S. 1077, 127 S.Ct. 723, 166 L.Ed.2d 561 (2006), quoting Schlup v. Delo, supra at 315, 115 S.Ct. 851; Fla......
  • Henderson v. Frakes, 4:19CV3022
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Nebraska
    • July 6, 2020
    ...cannot demonstrate actual innocence where there is sufficient evidence to support a conviction." Wadlington v. United States, 428 F.3d 779, 783 (8th Cir. 2005). Henderson has presented no new, reliable evidence of actual innocence in this case. He provides no "exculpatory scientif......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
26 cases
  • Wadlington v. Werlich, Case No. 17-cv-449-SMY
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • April 7, 2020
    ...New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000) because it failed to specify the drug amount in connection with his charges. Wadlington v. United States, 428 F.3d 779, 784 (8th Cir. 2005) (affirming the denial of Wadlington's § 2255 motion). Reviewing for plain error, the Eighth Circuit agreed that Wadling......
  • Mamou v. Davis, CIVIL ACTION NO. H-14-403
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • December 8, 2016
    ...is impeaching, but is not new, reliable evidence as required to support a valid actual-innocence claim. See Wadlington v. United States, 428 F.3d 779, 784 (8th Cir. 2005) (distinguishing under Schlup between an affidavit that "is, at best, impeachment" and one that "exonerate......
  • Hamilton v. Roehrich, Civ. No. 08-2500 (PAM/RLE).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • April 20, 2009
    ...petitioner must pass to have his otherwise barred constitutional claim considered on the merits.'" Wadlington v. United States, 428 F.3d 779, 783 (8th Cir.2005), cert. denied, 549 U.S. 1077, 127 S.Ct. 723, 166 L.Ed.2d 561 (2006), quoting Schlup v. Delo, supra at 315, 115 S.Ct. 851; Fla......
  • Henderson v. Frakes, 4:19CV3022
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Nebraska
    • July 6, 2020
    ...cannot demonstrate actual innocence where there is sufficient evidence to support a conviction." Wadlington v. United States, 428 F.3d 779, 783 (8th Cir. 2005). Henderson has presented no new, reliable evidence of actual innocence in this case. He provides no "exculpatory scientif......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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