United States v. Powell, No. 15-6232 (4th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Petitioner, convicted of federal drug and firearms offenses, appealed the denial of his 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion for habeas relief based on ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, petitioner claimed that his counsel's performance was deficient because she failed to bring to the attention of the trial court the fact that, before the trial began, a member of the jury approached petitioner's father while entering the courthouse and told him that "everything would be alright" and that he needed to give his son "a good kick in the butt," thereby allegedly demonstrating bias against petitioner. The court concluded that counsel's response fell within the range of competent representation required by the Sixth Amendment because the juror's alleged statement did not sufficiently indicate actual bias against petitioner but was instead ambiguous. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.