E.D.N.C.: No IAC in foregoing motion to suppress to tamp down more bad facts and plea bargain instead

Facing a 21 U.S.C. § 851 enhancement, it was objectively reasonable strategy for defense counsel to forego a doubtful motion to suppress that would dredge up additional bad facts and make plea bargaining harder. Thomas v. United States, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106816 (E.D. N.C. June 26, 2019):

“Defense counsel also made a reasonable strategic decision not to file the motion to suppress. He “advised [petitioner] that a suppression motion would have a deleterious effect on the outcome of his case.” (Id. at 2.) As defense counsel explains, he had to look at the “big picture.” (Id. at 3-4.) The evidence against petitioner was strong, and petitioner was potentially facing a sentencing enhancement pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851. (Id. at 4.) Defense counsel’s strategy was to negotiate the best possible plea agreement and put petitioner in the most advantageous position at sentencing, rather than focus on accusations concerning law enforcement officers, which a motion to suppress and any hearing would entail. (See id.) Such a strategy was objectively reasonable, and therefore, counsel was not deficient in failing to file a motion to suppress.

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