United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge.
Alhakemi (Petitioner or Alhakemi) has filed a habeas corpus
petition attacking his conviction and sentence for being a
drug dealer and a habitual offender. Respondent has submitted
an answer, the relevant state court records, and a brief.
Although given an opportunity to submit a reply brief,
Petitioner has failed to do so within the time allotted. I
now deny the petition and dismiss it with prejudice.
33-page typewritten petition is prolix and scattershot in
nature but it is comprehendible and reflects a working
knowledge of the English language. Respondents have, properly
and fairly, boiled down the claims to these:
Claim One: Petitioner was denied effective assistance of
trial counsel because trial counsel failed to properly
investigate and gather evidence to support his defense.
Petitioner was denied effective assistance of appellate
counsel because appellate counsel failed to raise this issue
on direct appeal. (Filing no. 1 at CM/ECF pp. 7-10,
Claim Two: Petitioner was denied effective assistance of
trial counsel because trial counsel failed to use an Arabic
interpreter to communicate with him at all times and because
trial counsel failed to properly advise him of the evidence
against him so that he could make a proper decision regarding
the State's plea offer. Petitioner was denied effective
assistance of appellate counsel because appellate counsel
failed to raise these issues on direct appeal. (Id.
at CM/ECF pp. 10-11, 26-28.)
Claim Three: Petitioner was denied due process of law and
effective assistance of trial counsel because he was forced,
despite his request otherwise, to have that specific trial
counsel represent him. Petitioner was denied effective
assistance of appellate counsel because appellate counsel
failed to raise this issue on direct appeal. (Id. at
CM/ECF pp. 13-18, 26-28.)
Claim Four: Petitioner was denied due process of law when the
trial court denied a continuance motion. Petitioner was
denied effective assistance of appellate counsel because
appellate counsel failed to raise this issue on direct
appeal. (Id. at CM/ECF pp. 18-19, 26-28.)
Claim Five: Petitioner was denied effective assistance of
trial counsel because trial counsel affirmatively misadvised
him, without an interpreter present, to proceed to trial and
to decline the State's plea offer. Petitioner was denied
effective assistance of appellate counsel because appellate
counsel failed to raise this issue on direct appeal.
(Id. at CM/ECF pp. 11-13, 19-28.)
Question of An Interpreter in this Court
to buttress his substantive claims, Alhakemi sought the
services of an interpreter to prosecute this habeas action.
He stated: “The Petitioner does not speak the english
language, the legal aid here at the Nebraska State
Penitentiary will no longer be available to prepare and
assist the [Petitioner] in any further legal work.”
(Filing no. 3.)
requested a response, and Respondents submitted an affidavit
from the law librarian that none of the inmate legal aids
spoke Arabic and thus any previous assistance received by
Petitioner from the legal aids would have had to have been
provided to the Petitioner in English. (Filing no.
14-3.) Furthermore, and as I shall next point out,
Petitioner was able to consummate numerous drug transactions
in English, over the phone and in person, and also during his
interview with law enforcement after he was arrested he was
able to converse using the English language and with no
seeming difficulty. (Filing no. 14-2 at CM/ECF pp.
46-47, 116-123.) Still further, the record reveals that
Petitioner conversed with the state trial judge in English
and without the assistance of an interpreter during the state
court proceedings. (Filing no. 14-1 at CM/ECF pp. 8,
12-14; filing no. 14-2 at CM/ECF pp. 9-10, 166.)
Finally, as the Court of Appeals noted, at the time of trial,
Petitioner had been “in the United States for 21
years.” (Filing no. 18-1 at CM/ECF p.
was charged with 4 counts of delivery of a controlled
substance and 1 count of possession of a controlled
substance. The information alleged that Alhakemi delivered
methamphetamine on or about 4 separate dates in 2013, May 15,
May 28, June 13, and July 5, and that he possessed
methamphetamine on or about August 8. It also alleged that
Alhakemi is a habitual criminal.
trial, the jury heard testimony from Jordan Wilmes, an
investigator with the Lincoln-Lancaster County narcotics task
force. On May 14, 2013, Wilmes met with a confidential
informant (CI) who provided Wilmes the name and telephone
number of a person the CI described as a source of
methamphetamine in Lincoln. Wilmes researched the telephone
number in a police database and confirmed the name associated
with the telephone number was Alhakemi's. The CI also
informed Wilmes that the methamphetamine source lived in the
area of 12th Street and B Street in Lincoln, and Wilmes'
research confirmed an address in that area for Alhakemi.
Wilmes' request, the CI placed a recorded call to the
telephone number he provided to Wilmes. A copy of the
recorded call was received into evidence at trial, and Wilmes
confirmed that the voices that could be heard on the
recording belonged to the CI and a man he came to know as
Alhakemi. Wilmes testified that he recognized, based on his
training and experience, that the conversation between the CI
and Alhakemi was consistent with the arrangement of a
following day, the CI placed another recorded call to
Alhakemi, and they arranged to meet. When the CI and Wilmes,
who was working undercover, arrived at the agreed-upon
location, Alhakemi got into the backseat of Wilmes'
undercover vehicle. Alhakemi directed Wilmes to drive to a
different location, at which Alhakemi exited the vehicle.
About 15 minutes later, Alhakemi returned to Wilmes'
vehicle and placed a plastic baggie containing a crystalline
substance on the center console. The parties discussed a
price, and Alhakemi was given $260 of drug task force buy
money. Wilmes explained at trial that the drug task force
provides him ...