Friday, June 29, 2012


Gavel of Ruling
Oscar Hills IV is a person that some believe was unjustly convicted of the crime of fraud in Louisiana. Hills antagonist is apparently an Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and (Explosives) ATFE [I always thought it was just ATF] agent that was driven to investigate Hills case.

I originally posted Hills story because someone went to the trouble to send it to me. In using my main investigative tool (i.e. Google) I have come up with nearly zilch about Oscar Hills IV.

Recently someone again has sent some Hills information having to do with an effort to use the Appellate Court to overturn or vacate his conviction. AGAIN the Google Search Engine is sparse to non-existent on information on Oscar Hills IV.

If anyone can dig up some information about Oscar Hills IV send it to In the mean time here is the latest information sent to me via my old archive site email of

JRH 6/29/12


Sent by TaWana Gayle
6/28/2012 7:59 PM


No. 12-30071
USDC No. 3:11-CV-352
USDC No. 3:09-CR-46-1
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee v. OSCAR HILLS, IV, Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana

O R D E R:

Oscar Hills, IV, federal prisoner # 05251-095, seeks a certificate of appealability (COA) to appeal the district court’s denial of his 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion challenging his convictions for wire fraud. He has also filed an appeal from the district court’s denial of his motion for release on bond pending appeal, and he moves for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) on appeal, for expedited consideration of his IFP motion and his appeal from the district court’s denial of bond, for release on bond pending appeal, and to supplement his COA motion. To the extent that Hills requests a COA with respect to the denial of his Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) motion, this court lacks jurisdiction to consider those claims because he did not separately appeal the denial of that No. 12-30071 motion. FED. R. CIV. P. 4(a)(4)(B)(ii).

In order to obtain a COA, the movant must make “a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). A prisoner “satisfies this standard by demonstrating that jurists of reason could disagree with the district court’s resolution of his constitutional claims or that jurists could conclude the issues presented are adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.” Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 327 (2003).

Hills asserts that the district court did not address his claim that the trial court’s failure to consider his pretrial request for substitute appointed counsel was a structural error that resulted in the violation of his due process rights and his right to effective representation by counsel. He also argues that his counsel was ineffective because he suppressed evidence and coerced his guilty plea. Hills has not shown that reasonable jurists could debate the district court’s denial of these claims or that jurists could conclude that the issues deserve encouragement to proceed further. See id. Any remaining claims of ineffective assistance of counsel that Hills raised in the district court have been abandoned.

See Hughes v. Johnson, 191 F.3d 607, 613 (5th Cir. 1999).

Hills also argues that the district court failed to consider his claim that he was denied counsel at a critical stage of his criminal proceedings, namely the hearing held to consider his motion to withdraw his guilty plea, and that the denial of counsel constituted a structural error. He states that he was forced to proceed pro se at his plea withdrawal hearing and that his pro se representation prevented him for presenting relevant issues to the trial court.

Hills did not raise these claims in his original § 2255 motion, but he did raise them in later filings during his § 2255 proceedings. Accordingly, a COA is 2 No. 12-30071 granted in part as to the preliminary issue whether these claims were properly raised before the district court.

To the extent that the claims were properly raised before the district court, Hills has, for the following reasons, demonstrated that they deserve encouragement to proceed further. See Miller-El, 537 U.S. at 327. This court has not yet held but has assumed that a plea withdrawal hearing is a critical stage of a criminal proceeding requiring the assistance of counsel. See United States v. Robles,  445 F. App’x 771, 778 (5th Cir. 2011).

If a plea withdrawal hearing is a critical stage of the proceeding, it is debatable whether, if Hills requested appointed counsel for the plea withdrawal hearing, the trial court erred in failing to appoint counsel, or whether, if Hills indicated his intent to proceed pro se at the hearing, the trial court erred in failing to warn him of the dangers of proceeding pro se. See United States v. Cronic, 466 U.S. 648-59 (1984); Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 802, 813-18 (1975); United States v. Cano, 519 F.3d 512, 516 (5th Cir. 2008). Accordingly, a COA is also granted in part with respect to whether Hills’s Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights were violated when the trial court did not address his request for appointed counsel in connection with the plea withdrawal hearing and when the trial court allowed Hills to proceed pro se at the hearing without first ensuring that his decision to proceed pro se was knowingly and intelligently made.

Hills’s motion to proceed IFP is granted. His remaining motions are denied.


/s/ Leslie H. Southwick
SlantRight Note: TaWana Gayle sent this information without comment. Since I had to format it for posting I am guessing this was from a converted PDF file or an OCR scanned document. I found some footnotes however I found no footnoted material. TaWana if you see these notes perhaps you can send a summary of Oscar Hills’ legal battles so that I can post for interested readers. For that matter, could anyone send some information on Oscar Hills’ legal issues from start to the present?

No comments:

Post a Comment