United States v. Smith, No. 20-1117 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Illinois law enforcement agents received a tip from a confidential source claiming that Smith had been dealing methamphetamine in Mattoon. The agents conducted controlled buys between Smith and the source and requested that a patrol officer stop Smith’s vehicle. The officer stopped the vehicle for “extremely dark window tinting,” and learned that Smith’s license was suspended. There was a 10-minute wait for batteries for the device to measure the tint. The officer then searched the vehicle and found marijuana, a marijuana grinder, and a firearm.
Represented by court-appointed counsel, Smith pleaded guilty to distributing methamphetamine and possessing a firearm as a felon. He then sought to retract his guilty plea, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The court denied Smith’s motion, rejected his request for an evidentiary hearing, and sentenced him to 214 months’ imprisonment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Smith cannot establish that he would have succeeded on a motion to suppress the firearm evidence and did not demonstrate a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s pressure to accept a plea, he would not have pleaded guilty. There is no evidence that appointed counsel made a misrepresentation or that suggests his unfamiliarity with the case. The court correctly applied the career offender enhancement to Smith’s sentence.