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United States v. Koehn

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

September 13, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
KRISTINA JEAN KOEHN, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CLAIRE V. EAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On February 19, 2019, defendant Kristina Jean Koehn, a federal prisoner appearing pro se, filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Dkt. # 48). Section 2255 provides that “a prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or law of the United States . . . may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.”

         I.

         On October 2, 2017, a grand jury returned a sealed indictment charging defendant with conspiracy to engage in sexually explicit conduct with a minor (count one), knowingly distributing visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct (count two), and knowingly possessing and accessing, with intent to view, visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct (count four). Dkt. # 2. Defendant was arrested and made her initial appearance on October 12, 2017. Dkt. # 19. Defendant was found to be indigent, and the Court appointed an attorney to represent her. Dkt. # 20.

         The facts defendant admitted to in defendant's plea agreement and petition to enter plea of guilty are as follows. Defendant was in a relationship with Chance Hood from in or about June 2017 through on or about July 26, 2017. Dkt. # 35, at 7; Dkt. # 37, at 8. During that time, they discussed producing sexually explicit photographs of defendant's then four-year-old daughter. Dkt. # 35, at 7. They agreed that defendant would take photographs of her child and send them to Hood “for his sexual gratification.” Id.; Dkt. # 37, at 8. Defendant used her cellular telephone, which had been shipped and transported in and affecting interstate commerce to produce the sexually explicit videos. Id. She intended for her child to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Id.

         Defendant stated that her attorney thought that she is competent and she did not agree. Dkt. # 37, at 2. She claimed to have a learning disability that caused her to read at a second grade level, and that she “can't comprehend stuff[, ] mom says I am slow, [and] mom [is the] guardian of me.” Id. at 4. Additionally, she claimed that she has “trouble making decisions on [her] own. [Her] mom says that [she is] a kid in an adult body.” Id. at 9. However, she indicated in the petition to enter plea of guilty that she understood the facts of her case, that her sentencing range if she went to trial would be a minimum of fifteen years in prison and a maximum of thirty years in prison, and that she would be sentenced to twenty years in prison if the Court were to accept her guilty plea. Id. at 2-4. In addition, during the plea colloquy, defendant stated that she graduated from high school and can read and write in English. Dkt. # 54, at 7-8. She stated that she had been in the special education classes during high school. Id. at 8-9. The Court found that “certainly, based upon [its] conversation with [her], [she is] alert, intelligent, and certainly seem[s] to be understanding [the Court's] questions.” Id. at 9. Defendant responded that she understood some questions, but not others. Id. The Court then asked if defendant would inform it if she did not understand any of the Court's questions and defendant responded that she would do so. Id. Defense counsel, when asked, stated that defendant had assisted in preparing her defense and was competent to proceed with her guilty plea. Id. at 9-10. The Court then went over defendant's medications, and defendant indicated that she was having a difficult time relating to and getting along with others in jail. Id. at 10-11. The Court then found that

based upon [the Court's] colloquy with the defendant, including the discussion of her learning disability and the medication she takes, the [C]ourt finds that the defendant is alert, clear, responding appropriately to [the Court's] questions, and certainly seems to understand the nature of the proceedings, and is able to communicate with her attorney in her defense, and the [C]ourt finds that the defendant is currently competent to plead.

Id. at 12.

         The plea agreement signed by defendant contained an appellate and post-conviction waiver, wherein defendant agreed, inter alia, to knowingly and voluntarily waive the right to “collaterally attack the conviction and sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, except for claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.” Dkt. # 35, at 3. She “expressly acknowledge[d] that counsel ha[d] explained her appellate and post-conviction rights; that the defendant underst[ood] her rights; and that the defendant knowingly and voluntarily waive[d] those rights as set forth above.” Id. Defendant signed and acknowledged that

I have read this agreement and carefully reviewed every part of it with my attorney. I understand it, and I voluntarily agree to it. Further, I have consulted with my attorney and fully understand my rights with respect to sentencing which may apply to my case. No other promises or inducements have been made to me, other than those contained in this pleading. In addition, no one has threatened or forced me in any way to enter into this agreement. Finally, I am satisfied with the representation of my attorney in this matter.

Id. at 16. Defendant also signed a petition to enter a plea of guilty, which states that, “I believe that my attorney has done all that anyone could do to counsel and assist me, AND I AM SATISFIED WITH THE ADVICE AND HELP . . . HE HAS GIVEN ME.” Dkt. # 37, at 4 (emphasis in original). At the change of plea hearing, defendant acknowledged that no one had forced her to plead guilty and that she was pleading guilty of her own free will because she is guilty. Dkt. # 54, at 14-15. Defendant acknowledged that she was waiving her right to collaterally attack her conviction and sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, except for claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Id. at 22. Defendant was advised of the charges against her, and she admitted that she understood the charge to which she was pleading guilty. Id. at 27-28.

         On November 15, 2017, defendant pleaded guilty to count one only. Dkt. ## 35-37. Defendant pleaded not guilty to counts two and four (Dkt. # 37), and those charges were dismissed at sentencing. The pre-sentence report (PSR) reflected that defendant's statutory term of imprisonment was a minimum of fifteen years and a maximum of thirty years. PSR, at ¶ 40. Under the sentencing guidelines, the offense involved a child under the age of twelve and commission of a sexual act, and defendant was a parent of the victim. The calculated advisory guideline range was life imprisonment; however, because her statutory maximum was thirty years, her advisory guideline range was 360 months. Id. at ¶¶ 12-25, 41. At sentencing, on February 22, 2018, the Court accepted the Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement and imposed the agreed upon twenty-year sentence. Dkt. # 45. Judgement was entered on February 23, 2018 (Dkt. # 47) and defendant did not appeal the conviction or sentence.

         II.

         Broadly construing defendant's § 2255 motion, she may be ...


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