Davis v. United States, No. 16-1840 (8th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The district court granted in part petitioner's motion to vacate his drug-related conviction and sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255, based on ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court ordered the government to reoffer an earlier plea deal. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court clearly erred in finding that petitioner suffered from mental illness that impaired his ability to understand legal advice and make reasoned decisions; the district court erred in finding that counsel should have known that petitioner was not able to understand legal advice or make reasoned decisions; the district court's finding that counsel's communication style did not mesh well with petitioner's difficulties did not provide a basis for ineffective assistance of counsel; the district court did not err in finding counsel deficient in failing to explain the safety-valve exception; and the district court erred in directing the government to reoffer the five-year deal. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for the district court to determine whether petitioner was prejudiced by the safety-valve advice.