Petitioner’s Post-Plea Counsel, however, candidly admits that “Ms. Paukert reports that she has no present recollection of being in attendance during plea discussions between counsel and .” Id. at 24. And Petitioner offers no evidence that Plea Counsel gained such knowledge through another avenue. Petitioner’s counseled Reply appears to suggest that Plea Counsel should have sought a forensic mental health evaluation or other “professional medical follow-up” after “document that suffered a cocaine induced seizure on September 2, 2000, resulting a brief period of hospitalization.” Pet.’s Reply at 22. However, Petitioner’s Reply does not explain why an alleged cocaine-induced seizure should have triggered Plea Counsel to seek a mental health evaluation, and certainly does not explain how a seizure in September 2000 could in any way have impacted Petitioner’s competency to plead guilty more than 15 months later. In short, Petitioner altogether fails to demonstrate that his Plea Counsel had any knowledge of his alleged mental health issues that would have made it appropriate or necessary to request a mental health evaluation before advising Petitioner as to the Government’s plea offer.
Unfortunately, the castmate who is definitely not returning regardless of whether there’s going to be another season is – Billy O’Toole. During the filming, he tragically passed away in his home; the cause of death is still unknown. It was a shocker to Billy’s family but they held up well.
In his pro se Motion, Petitioner also asserts that he was “not informed by counsel that I did not have to answer any questions at the plea hearing and that I could have pled the Fifth. If I would have known that I would have chose to plead the Fifth to any questions asked by the Court.” Pet.’s Mot. Petitioner’s assertion is nonsensical because Rule 11 specifically requires a court considering a guilty plea to address the defendant personally in open court and determine that the defendant understands a variety of matters. The Court clearly could not meet its Rule 11 burden and therefore could not accept a guilty plea if a defendant opted not to respond to questioning during a plea hearing.
Me to believe that was suffering from any mental problems nor did at any time advise me of any suicidal ideation. Neither did any other member of the defense team, including Rev. Appiah and Ms. James-Monroe, advise me of concerns for our client’s mental condition or suicidal ideation. Given that Rev. Appiah was [Petitioner’s] minister and Ms. James-Monroe is a Licensed Counseling Social Worker with a clinical practice and thus experienced in mental health issues and also sensitive to the effect such issues can have in mitigation, I feel confident that never evidenced such problems. Finally, although not related to the Rule 11 colloquy, Petitioner also assigns error to the Court’s decision to remove Mr. Ponds as defense counsel and replace him with Messrs. O’Toole and Ricco.
At 3, the DNA evidence at issue only served to identify Petitioner as the individual who smoked the cigarette found in the tree box near the undercover vehicle. Petitioner, however, admitted to his Plea Counsel that he was the individual seen in the Government’s videotapes smoking the cigarette, see O’Toole Aff. ¶ 10, and repeatedly admitted to the Court during the plea hearing that he shot and killed Trooper Toatley. As Petitioner’s Supplement admits, “the videotape largely eliminated the issue of identification as a basis on which to mount a defense.” Pet.’s Suppl.
The stolen Ford Escort belonged to a man from Portadown, who according to Captain Fred Holroyd, had links with one of the UVF bombers and David Alexander Mulholland the driver of the bomb car which had been left to explode in Parnell Street, Dublin, on 17 May 1974. He was also one of the prime suspects in the sectarian killing of Dorothy Traynor on 1 April 1975 in Portadown. When the device was tilted on its side, clumsy soldering on the clock used as a timer caused the bomb to explode prematurely, blowing the minibus apart and killing UVF men Harris Boyle and Wesley Somerville instantly.
Finally, Petitioner’ pro se Motion also claims that his Plea Counsel provided ineffective assistance by not getting “results from the fingerprints taken from the gun, car door, shell casing, and cigarette butt as I asked him to.” Pet.’s Mot. However, each of these pieces of physical evidence served to identify Petitioner as Trooper Toatley’s shooter. As there is no longer any question of identification, Petitioner cannot demonstrate that Plea Counsel’s alleged failure to pursue fingerprint evidence caused him any prejudice. In sum, Mr. O’Toole’s Affidavit establishes that Plea Counsel acted reasonably, and in fact responsibly, belmont finance payment in promptly focusing Petitioner on the possibility of a guilty plea upon becoming aware that the window for negotiating such a plea was closing. Given the constraints inherent in the § 3593 procedure, it appears that Plea Counsel correctly determined that a plea would have to be negotiated quickly for Petitioner to stand any chance of removing the possibility of the death penalty altogether. While Petitioner may have viewed Plea Counsel’s broaching of a plea agreement as premature, that Court cannot conclude that Plea Counsel’s performance in this respect constituted unreasonable professional judgment.