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United States v. Ruelas

October 12, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
GEORGE MICHAEL RUELAS DEFENDANT-PETITIONER.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Christina A. Snyder United States District Judge

I. INTRODUCTION

PETITIONER'S MOTION TO VACATE, SET ASIDE OR CORRECT SENTENCE PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2255

Petitioner George Michael Ruelas is a former California Highway Patrolman ("CHP") who was convicted of conspiring with other law enforcement officers pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) (conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine) and 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (possession with intent to distribute cocaine). The conspiracy included a July 4, 1997 theft of 295 kilograms of cocaine from the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement's ("BNE") Riverside evidence vault.

On November 21, 2002, petitioner was sentenced to 360-months in prison. On the same day, petitioner appealed. The Ninth Circuit affirmed on May 5, 2004.

On petition for Writ of Certiorari, filed on August 4, 2004, the United States Supreme Court remanded the case for resentencing in light of United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005). Upon remand from the Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and remanded in part for consideration in light of United States v. Ameline, 409 F.3d 1073, 1084-86 (9th Cir. 2005) (en banc). See United States v. Ruelas, 412 F.3d 1051; 286 Fed. Appx. 528. On October 17, 2006, petitioner was re-sentenced to 228-months in prison.

On October 27, 2006, petitioner again appealed to the Ninth Circuit and the appeal was denied on July 22, 2008. On August 7, 2008, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the sentencing imposed upon remand and otherwise denied petitioner's appeal. On October 13, 2008, petitioner's petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court was denied.

On October 16, 2009, petition filed the instant motion for relief from his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.

Petitioner moves to set aside, vacate or correct his sentence on the grounds that: (1) his conviction was obtained through the government's failure to disclose exculpatory material evidence proving the specific kilograms of cocaine possessed by petitioner and trafficked by co-conspirators; (2) his conviction was obtained through the government's knowing use of false evidence and/or by allowing false evidence to go uncorrected at trial in violation of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment; (3) his conviction was obtained through the misleading admission of falsely portrayed and unauthenticated evidence; (4) his conviction was obtained by the use of purported statements obtained by the government in violation of established rules; (5) his conviction was facilitated through the use of evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (6) petitioner was denied effective assistance of counsel; (7) the cumulative effect of these violations resulted in a fundamentally flawed and structurally unfair trial proceeding in violation of petitioner's Fifth Amendment right to due process; and (8) petitioner's sentence for supervisory release on the condition of one drug test within fifteen days of release and at least two tests thereafter is improper and without a rational basis.

On January 25, 2010, the government filed its opposition. On July 6, 2010, petitioner filed a reply on July 6, 2010. After carefully considering the arguments set forth by both parties, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

II. BACKGROUND

In or around 1990, petitioner, petitioner's half-brother Richard Wayne Parker ("Parker"), a BNE agent, and James Tracy Strickler, a Pima County Sheriff's Deputy, conspired to use police intelligence to steal narcotics and cash. Opp'n 2:11-16. In 1992, petitioner recruited fellow CHP officer Michael Wilcox ("Wilcox") into the conspiracy. From 1992 to 1993, the conspirators posed as uniformed law enforcement officers and knocked on the doors of suspected drug houses. Reporter's Transcript ("RT") 5/1/02: 52-53, 60-72. The conspirators stole drugs found on the premises and split the profits of sale. RT 5/1/02: 52-53.

On July 4, 1997, petitioner and Wilcox stole 295 kilograms of cocaine from the BNE evidence vault. Parker and Wilcox were responsible for ...


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