By JB Clark
OXFORD – The United States District Court granted Dwight Bowling a hearing to decide if his council was ineffective in appealing his 300-month sentence for witness tampering and enticement of a minor.
Bowling, 58, filed a motion two weeks ago asking for a hearing, claiming his sentence is too long and the result of his attorney’s failed attempt to appeal before deadline.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office apposed the hearing, saying Bowling told his attorney he didn’t want to spend another penny fighting the case.
Senior U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson ordered the hearing, saying, “The Court cannot determine this issue on the current record without live testimony to accurately measure the credibility of the witnesses… and to flesh out the sequence of events leading to the untimely filing of Bowling’s notice of appeal.”
The hearing is scheduled for June 12.
Bowling is in federal prison serving his sentence for April 2011 guilty pleas to charges he transported minor males across state lines for sex and attempted witness tampering.
He had a previous appeal dismissed from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012.
He filed a motion to vacate his sentence in September, claiming his attorney didn’t file an appeal in time and was therefore ineffective.
Bowling, in his September motion to vacate his sentence, claimed his attorney, Christi McCoy, didn’t file his sentencing appeal within the given time frame and was therefore ineffective counsel. But, in an email exchange included in the motion, he essentially fired McCoy, told her he doesn’t plan to pay his final bill and told her he is asking for another attorney.
He also told her he didn’t want to spend another penny fighting the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul D. Roberts, in his response to the motion, said Bowling’s explicit instructions to his counsel not to file an appeal preclude any complaint that his attorney violated his rights when she followed his instructions.
He also said Bowling must be able to show he requested an appeal and did not prevent his counsel from filing the notice of appeal to prove ineffective assistance of counsel.
Bowling was a football coach at Smithville High School for 29 years before he retired and coached in Sulligent, Ala.