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United States v. Logan

United States District Court, District of Columbia

December 17, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JONATHAN MCCOY LOGAN Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Emmet G. Sullivan United States District Judge.

         Jonathan McCoy Logan pled guilty to drug and gun related offenses in two criminal cases pursuant to a plea agreement, and was sentenced to an agreed-upon 147 months of incarceration. Several months after his sentencing, the government informed Mr. Logan that an FBI agent who was indirectly involved with his case had tampered with evidence in other cases. Mr. Logan later moved to vacate his sentences pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and the Court denied the motions. Mr. Logan now moves for a certificate of appealability so that he can appeal this Court's decision. Because Mr. Logan has failed to make a “substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right, ” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2), Mr. Logan's motion for a certificate of appealability is DENIED.

         I. Background

         The Court's previous Memorandum Opinion set forth the facts in this case in detail. See United States v. Logan, No. CR 12-59-17(EGS), 2018 WL 5297812, at *1-4 (D.D.C. Oct. 25, 2018). What follows is a summary of the facts necessary to provide context for Mr. Logan's current motions.

         A. Investigation and Arrest

         Mr. Logan was charged in two separate criminal cases based on evidence accumulated during an investigation of drug trafficking activity in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and evidence seized during Mr. Logan's October 21, 2011 arrest. Id. at *1. The investigation revealed that Mr. Logan sold cocaine to another indicted individual, Kelvin Heyward. Id. Wire-tapped calls between the two captured the details of specific drug transactions, as well as how the transactions were generally conducted. Id. The evidence obtained during Mr. Logan's October 21, 2011 arrest were a .32 semi-automatic handgun, over $14, 000 on his person, and $4, 000 and several plastic bags containing cocaine in his car. Id.

         Based on the evidence obtained, an indictment was filed on March 8, 2012, charging Mr. Logan with several drug offenses. Id. The October 2011 arrest, and subsequent car search, resulted in an August 2013 indictment in Maryland, later transferred to this district, charging Mr. Logan with several drug and gun offenses. Id.

         Mr. Logan was arrested at his job, the All-In-One Stop in Clinton, Maryland, following the filing of the March 8, 2012 superseding indictment. Id. at *2. That same day, a team of FBI agents executed a search warrant at the All-In-One Stop. According to the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia (“USAO-DC”), the investigation that resulted in Mr. Logan's indictment was conducted by the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force. Id.

         The presence of one agent, Special Agent (“SA”) Matthew Lowry, is particularly relevant to Mr. Logan's pending motion. SA Lowry was assigned to a different task force--the Cross-Border Task Force (“CBTF”)--but he “provided some assistance to the overall investigation at the time of the ‘take-down' in March 2012.” Id. Specifically, SA Lowry participated in the execution of the search warrant at the All-In-One Stop which led to the seizure of several items. Id. SA Lowry was not listed on the chain-of-custody for any of the items seized from the All-In-One Stop. Id.

         On October 1, 2014 the FBI informed USAO-DC that “Special Agent Lowry may have engaged in misconduct by tampering with evidence . . . includ[ing] tampering with narcotics and firearm evidence seized during investigations.” Notice, ECF No. 563 at 1-2. The FBI's investigation into SA Lowry's misconduct was prompted by the discovery of SA Lowry under the influence of drugs in an FBI vehicle on September 29, 2014. See Criminal Action No. 13-248, Mem. Of Investigation, ECF No. 40-1 at 20.[1]

         The investigation revealed that SA Lowry had begun to remove FBI drug evidence in “late 2013.” Id. SA Lowry admitted to using drugs from “late 2013 when he began, through September 29, 2014, when he was found [under the influence] in his FBI-issued vehicle.” Id. SA Lowry was charged with, among other things, possession of heroin. See Criminal Action No. 15-34, Judgment in a Criminal Case (“Judgment”), ECF No. 30. He pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 36 months of incarceration. Id.

         In November 2014, the government disclosed to Mr. Logan the information about SA Lowry's alleged wrongdoing. Notice, ECF No. 563 at 1.[2] The Court then directed the government to file status reports updating the Court on the status of the government's investigation into SA Lowry's alleged misconduct. Minute Order of November 13, 2014. The government explained SA Lowry's role in Mr. Logan's case as follows:

[G]overnment counsel understands that Agent Lowry's involvement in the investigation . . . involved assisting in a large-scale "takedown" on March 12, 2012, specifically the execution of one search warrant on March 12, 2012, in Clinton, Maryland. Agent Lowry participated along with a team of other FBI agents in executing a search warrant at defendant Jonathan Logan's business location. . . . Agent Lowry was not listed on the chain-of-custody for any of the items seized from this location.

         Criminal Action No. 13-248, Gov't. Response to Def. Ltr. to Court, ECF No. 18 at 1-2. The government also made clear that the only event in which SA Lowry participated in Mr. Logan's case--the execution of the search warrant on March 12, 2012-- occurred five months after October 21, 2011, which was the ending date of the drug conspiracy with which Mr. Logan was charged. Id. Similarly, the proffer of facts explained that the gun seizure occurred during ...


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