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Baccam appeal denied

WORTHINGTON -- The Minnesota Court of Appeals filed an opinion Tuesday denying a motion made by federal prisoner Andy Roger Baccam, who was convicted in April 2003 of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

Baccam, who is currently housed in a medium security facility in Pekin, Il., was seeking review of a district court order denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, in which a person can seek relief from what they perceive as an unlawful detention.

"Because a state court cannot grant habeas relief to a federal inmate and because appellant's challenge to his 2001 Minnesota conviction amounts to an improper collateral attack, we affirm the district court," the opinion states.

Baccam pleaded guilty to the meth and firearm possession charges in federal court in 2003, then later sought to appeal the sentence. He stated in the appeal that the imprisonment violated his fifth amendment, since he did not enter his plea voluntarily, but based on misinformation. He also claimed counsel did not provide effective assistance.

That appeal and one other were denied. In July 2009, he filed the current petition, alleging he was being held in a federal prison because of a 2001 Minnesota terroristic threat conviction that took place in Nobles County District Court. He claimed once more that his conviction should be overturned due to ineffective assistance of counsel in connection with decision to plead guilty in the terroristic threat case.

The district court denied the petition, concluding that Baccam was not being held in federal prison for the state court conviction.

Baccam claims he was deceived by his attorney in 2001, who allegedly told him he would go to prison if he was found guilty. He also asserts he should be able to withdraw his Alford plea, which is when a defendant pleads guilty because he thinks there is evidence to convict, but does not admit to guilt.

Baccam concluded he received "severe federal sentencing enhancements" that were triggered by the inclusion of his 2001 state conviction.

"All of the issues raised by (Baccam) challenge his 2001 state criminal conviction and do not involve his current federal detention or the enforcement of his civil rights in connection with his federal conviction," the opinion states. "Finally, the appellant has filed a motion to accept a supplemental brief in support of his reply brief. Because his motion is untimely ... and because it merely reiterates arguments already made by appellant in his initial and reply brief, the motion to accept is denied."

Baccam's current incarceration on the federal drug conviction is scheduled to last until 2020.