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01/12/87 United States of America v. Alwyn Matthews

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT


January 12, 1987

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

v.

ALWYN MATTHEWS, APPELLANT 1987.CDC.11 DATE FILED: JANUARY 12, 1987

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT

Rules of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals may limit citation of unpublished opinions. Please refer to the Rules of the United States Court of Appeals for this Circuit.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Criminal No. 83-00260-02.

MEMORANDUM

Appellant Alwyn Matthews brings this appeal seeking review of the District Court's dismissal of his pro se petition for post-conviction relief, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. We affirm the order dismissing Matthews' § 2255 petition.

Matthews was convicted, after a three week jury trial before United States District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, dilaudid (21 U.S.C. § 846), and six counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, dilaudid (21 U.S.C. § 841 (a) (1)). Judge Jackson sentenced Matthews to two years imprisonment and imposed a special parole term of five years. This Court affirmed Matthews' conviction in an unpublished, per curiam opinion. United States v. Matthews, No. 84-5323 (D.C. Cir. 1985).

Appellant then filed his § 2255 motion for post-conviction relief, alleging that the government withheld exculpatory evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). See Memorandum in Support of Motion Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 at 18. The government filed an opposition to Matthews' motion, responding only to one of appellant's allegations. See Br. of Appellant at 4. Judge Jackson dismissed Matthews' petition one day later in an order that did not state any reasons for the dismissal.

Appellant raises several issues on appeal. First, that the District Court's failure to enter findings of fact and conclusions of law makes it impossible for this Court to review the dismissal of Matthews' pro se § 2255 petition, and requires a remand for the District Court to explain its ruling. It is our belief that findings of fact and conclusions of law in such orders dismissing § 2255 petitions, while certainly always desirable, are not required where "the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief." 28 U.S.C. § 2255.

This Court has stressed that a district court judge considering § 2255 motion "must be allowed to exercise his discretion" and that a denial of such a motion should not be overturned absent an abuse of that discretion. United States v. Cooper, 725 F.2d 756, 760 (D.C. Cir. 1984). Accordingly, we have affirmed summary denials of § 2255 motions in numerous analogous cases. See, e.g., id. at 757-60; United States v. Kearney, 682 F.2d 214, 217-18, 230 (D.C. Cir. 1982); Laughlin v. United States, 474 F.2d 444, 456 (D.C. Cir. 1972), cert. denied, 412 U.S. 941 (1973).

A review of Mr. Matthews' alleged Brady claims demonstrates that the district court's disposition of the motion was sound. Information in the possession of the government falls within the Brady doctrine only if several prerequisites are satisfied: (1) the information is "withheld" by the government; (2) the information is favorable to the defendant; (3) the defendant discovers the information "after trial"; and (4) the information "had been known to the prosecution but unknown to the defendant." United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97, 103 (1976); see also United States v. Bagley, 105 S. Ct. 3375, 3379 (1985). Because none of the information identified by Matthews meets these requirements, Judge Jackson could have decided conclusively that appellant was not entitled to relief.

Appellant's most compelling claim is that the government withheld information relating to telephone calls made from his residence, and that the telephone records would have refuted testimony by Kenneth Brown that he was called by appellant prior to his visits to Dr. Cook's office. Br. of Appellee at 27. While the government did obtain from C & P Telephone Company a record of appellant's long-distance telephone calls, it had no obligation to disclose this information since appellant clearly had access to the same information. *fn1 "Under Brady, the government is not obligated to furnish a defendant with information which he already has." United States v. Miranne, 688 F.2d 980, 987 n.9 (5th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1109 (1983); see also Jarrell v. Balkcom, 735 F.2d 1242, 1258 (11th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 105 S. Ct. 2331 (1985). Since there was no "suppression" as is contemplated by the Brady decision, Matthews' claim must fail.

Appellant contends further that, since he was not afforded an opportunity to clarify his pro se § 2255 petition before the District Court ruled on it, he should be entitled, upon remand, to amend his pleadings. *fn2 Although extending appellant such an opportunity would have been an act within the district judge's discretion, neither the statute nor the rules to the statute requires a district court judge to delay consideration of a § 2255 motion until the petitioner has had the opportunity to "amend or clarify." On the contrary, section 2255 contemplates "prompt" treatment of the motion, as does section 2255 Rule 4(b) (requiring the judge to promptly examine "[t]he motion, together with all the files, records, transcripts, and correspondence relating to the judgment under attack"). Judge Jackson clearly did not abuse his discretion by deciding Mr. Matthew's motion promptly.

Affirmed.

JUDGMENT

This cause came on to be heard on the record on appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and was argued by counsel. While the issues presented occasion no need for an opinion, they have been accorded full consideration by the Court. See Local Rule 13(c). On consideration thereof and for the reasons stated in the accompanying memorandum, it is

ORDERED and ADJUDGED, by this Court, that the judgment of the District Court appealed from in this cause is hereby affirmed. It is

FURTHER ORDERED, by this Court, sua sponte, that the Clerk shall withhold issuance of the mandate herein until seven days after disposition of any timely petition for rehearing. See Local Rule 14, as amended on November 30, 1981 and June 15, 1982. This instruction to the Clerk is without prejudice to the right of any party at any time to move for expedited issuance of the mandate for good cause shown.

Per Curiam.


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