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Poe v. USA

Case Summary: 12-cv-00353

In this case, Petitioner Matthew Leroy Poe filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography in the Southern District of Iowa. This video shows the hearing on Petitioner’s motion.

In February 2011, Petitioner was convicted of “Lascivious Acts with a Child” in Iowa state court and sentenced to 10 years in state prison. Shortly thereafter, he was taken into federal custody for trial in federal district court. Petitioner later pled guilty to possessing child pornography.

The sentencing guidelines provide for a range of 10 to 20 years for possessing childhood pornography. Based on representations by both his attorney and the prosecution, Petitioner was led to believe that his sentence would be close to the statutory minimum. However, by the sentencing hearing, the guideline range had been increased based upon a series of sentencing enhancements. As a result, Petitioner was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison to be served consecutively with the state sentence.

According to Petitioner’s brief, the court erred in sentencing him to the statutory maximum and imposing the sentences consecutively. Further, he argued that the trial lawyer provided ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to file a timely appeal upon Petitioner’s request, and by failing to argue for concurrent, rather than consecutive, sentences.

The court granted the Petitioner’s motion and vacated his August 4, 2011 sentence, based on counsel’s failure to file an appeal on behalf of her client. The court directed the clerk to enter an amended judgment imposing the same terms as the original judgment to allow time for appeal to begin again.

Case Highlights

  • Motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence filed 8/03/2012 (Doc #1)
  • Response to motion 8/21/2012 (Doc #3)
  • Order granting motion entered 10/02/2013 (Doc #33)

Case-related documents, including those referenced above, are available via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service. For more information, visit