United States v. Hedrick

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Case: 19-40531 Document: 00515688832 Page: 1 Date Filed: 12/30/2020 United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED December 30, 2020 No. 19-40531 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk United States of America, Plaintiff—Appellee, versus Robert L. Hedrick, Defendant—Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas USDC No. 5:17-CV-36 USDC No. 1:11-CR-715-1 Before Jones, Costa, and Wilson, Circuit Judges. Per Curiam:* Robert L. Hedrick, federal prisoner # 94886-279, was convicted by a jury of offenses relating to child pornography and attempted sexual exploitation of children, and he is serving an aggregate 360-month sentence. He filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion challenging these convictions, raising * Pursuant to 5th Circuit Rule 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5th Circuit Rule 47.5.4. Case: 19-40531 Document: 00515688832 Page: 2 Date Filed: 12/30/2020 No. 19-40531 claims of ineffective assistance by trial and appellate counsel. The district court denied relief, concluding that Hedrick’s motion was a restatement of his allegations of a convoluted conspiracy that had previously been found to be frivolous by the district and appellate courts. Hedrick now seeks a certificate of appealability (COA) to appeal this ruling. To obtain a COA, Hedrick must make “a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2); Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 483 (2000). He will satisfy this standard “by demonstrating that jurists of reason could disagree with the district court’s resolution of his constitutional claims or that jurists could conclude the issues presented are adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.” Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 327 (2003). To the extent the district court rejected his claims on their merits, Hedrick “must demonstrate that reasonable jurists would find the district court’s assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or wrong.” Slack, 529 U.S. at 484; see also Miller-El, 537 U.S. at 338. If, however, the district court’s ruling is construed as a dismissal on procedural grounds, Hedrick must show “that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the [motion] states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.” Slack, 529 U.S. at 484. To the extent that Hedrick is complaining about his access to the law library and is alleging that prison officials or others are tampering with his mail, such claims are not cognizable in § 2255 proceedings. See Padilla v. United States, 416 F.3d 424, 425-26 (5th Cir. 2005); Davis v. Fechtel, 150 F.3d 486, 490 (5th Cir. 1998). Similarly, to the extent that Hedrick is challenging his conviction based on substantive claims that a conspiracy framed him and is attempting to silence him, we decline to consider such claims. See Padilla, 416 F.3d at 425-26. 2 Case: 19-40531 Document: 00515688832 Page: 3 Date …

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