United States District Court, D. New Jersey
TODD M. CAWARD, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
L. WOLFSON, U.S.D.J.
§ 2255 motion arises out of Petitioner Todd M.
Caward's guilty plea and sentencing for violations of 18
U.S.C. § 871 and 18 U.S.C. § 876 arising from
charges contained in two separate Indictments. Pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 78, upon review of all submissions, this matter
is decided without oral argument, and for the reasons stated
below, the Court denies the Motion and denies a certificate
FACTUAL BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL
February 15, 2012, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, a
one-count Indictment was filed against Caward charging him
with mailing a threatening letter to the President of the
United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 871.
Specifically, the Indictment charged Caward with mailing
President Obama a letter on or about October 15, 2011, in
which Caward stated that he was affiliated with the Aryan
Brotherhood and was coming to take the President's life.
On November 8, 2012, a Rule 20 consent to transfer case for
plea and sentence to the District of New Jersey was filed.
This Indictment was assigned to the undersigned for entry of
the plea and indexed in the District of New Jersey under
Crim. No. 12-0721 (the “M.D. Pa. Case”).
April 5, 2012, a four-count Indictment was filed in the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania, indexed under Crim. No.
12-0152, and assigned to the undersigned in the District of
New Jersey. Count One and Three of the Indictment charged
Caward with offenses related to the following threat
contained in a letter mailed on or about December 1, 2011 to
a judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania:
Its time for you to pay and I don't mean in a monetary
sense. I mean with your life!! [Y]ou and your family are a
bunch of Jew ass loving punks who kiss ass with the n...s
(racial epithet)! Your (sic) trying to take over but that
will never happen because you may be taken off the count
before you read this, and if not then in only a few hours
you'll be dead. [A]long with your family they will be
tormented to a slowly (sic) death and thats (sic) the Aryan
truth. Me and my people are to (sic) smart for your out of
date security. So get ready I am coming to choke the life out
of you and your punk ass family you Jew loving Punk!!
Two and Four charged Caward with offenses related to the
following threat contained in a letter mailed on or about
December 7, 2011 to the same judge in the Eastern District of
You Jew ass Loving Punks Just don't get the picture. I
[a]m coming to kill your n...r (racial epithet)/Jew ass so
get ready!! You can send whoever you want to try and talk me
down[.] I [a]m not changing my mind[.] [Y]ou've made
decisions That had directly effected white associates of mine
And I [a]m the man for the Job[.] I [have] got a .308 bullet
with your name on it!! So get ready asshole!! Your (sic) a
Counts One and Three charged Caward with mailing threatening
communications to a federal judge, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 876(c) and Counts Two and Four charged Caward with
threatening a federal judge in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
115(a)(1)(B). This Indictment was assigned to the undersigned
because the judiciary in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
was recused from this matter. (the “E.D. Pa.
November 14, 2012, Caward entered guilty pleas in the M.D.
Pa. Case and to Counts One and Three of the Indictment in the
E.D. Pa. Case. A plea agreement, associated with the M.D. Pa.
Case, was electronically filed in that District on June 26,
2012. (See ECF No. 7-1, Exhibit A.) A plea agreement
associated with the E.D. Pa. Case was filed on November 14,
2012, when Caward entered his plea. (See ECF No.
7-2, Exhibit B.) Both plea agreements were reviewed in open
Court on November 14, 2012 prior to Caward's guilty
pleas. (See ECF No. 7-3, Exhibit C (Transcript of
November 14, 2012 Plea Proceeding) at 8:7-18:10.) Mr. Caward
advised the Court that he reviewed and fully understood the
terms of both plea agreements. Id. at 14:10-17.)
was represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Brian
Reilly, Esq. at the plea proceedings in regard to both
charges. Prior to the transfer of the M.D. Pa. Case to the
District of New Jersey, Caward was represented by Anne
Gingrich Cornick, Esq. in the Middle District of
8, 2013, Caward was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 56
months in the M.D. Pa. Case and 56 months in the. E.D. Pa.
Case to run concurrent to each other. (See ECF No.
7-4, Exhibit D (Judgment)). The Court also sentenced Caward
to a three year term of supervised release in both cases.
Id. Caward did not file an appeal. Caward was
represented by Mr. Reilly at sentencing.
Section 2255 Petition was docketed on September 29, 2014, and
is dated September 23, 2014. (ECF No. 1, Motion at 14.)
Caward alleged four grounds for relief in his Section 2255
Petition. First, Caward alleges that Mr. Reilly was
ineffective for failing to submit to the Court a psychiatric
evaluation purportedly prepared by Dr. Gerald Cooke, and that
Caward “surely would have been given a lesser
sentence” if this examination had been submitted.
Second, Caward alleges that he suffers from severe mental
illness and he is not receiving treatment. Third, Caward
alleges that Mr. Reilly was ineffective because he allegedly
said that “all things would not be mentioned, ”
that Caward would be sent to a prison where he would receive
mental health treatment, and that Caward would “get
less time” because of the psychological evaluation.
Finally, Caward claims that Mr. Reilly was ineffective
because he “lied to” Caward by allegedly telling
Caward he would be better off by pleading guilty and that he
would submit Dr. Cooke's psychological evaluation.
October 2, 2014, the Court entered an Order after screening
the Section 2255 Petition for dismissal in accordance with
Rule 4(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings.
(ECF No. 3.) The Court summarily dismissed Ground Two because
this claim is not cognizable in a motion to vacate under
Section 2255. (Id.) The Court ordered the Government
to file an answer to Grounds One, Three, and Four. The
Government filed its Answer on December 17, 2014. (ECF No.
7.) Caward did not file a reply, but instead submitted
several letters, which the Court addresses below.
(See ECF Nos. 6, 11.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
28, United States Code, Section 2255 permits a court to
vacate, correct, or set aside a sentence
upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of
the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the
court was without jurisdiction to impose such a sentence, or
that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized ...