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Rakmanov v. United States

February 27, 2008

MIKHAIL RAKMANOV, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Edward R. Korman Senior United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM & ORDER:

KORMAN, J.

Petitioner, Mikhail Rakmanov, pled guilty on August 1, 2005, to one count of conspiracy to deal in approximately $200,000 of counterfeit currency. The plea was taken by United States Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold. Rakmanov moves to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Rakmanov claims that his attorney was ineffective because he did not explain the plea agreement to him in his native tongue, Russian, or the possible ramification of deportation as a result of the plea. Pet'r's Mot. at 5. Consequently, Rakmanov claims he did not knowingly enter a plea of guilty, as required by Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Fed. R. Crim. Proc. 11(b)(1).

Rakmanov's allegations are belied by his sworn testimony during the plea allocution. A Russian interpreter was provided for Rakmanov at the hearing, and Rakmanov testified that he understood the interpreter. Criminal Cause for Guilty Plea Tr. 2:15-22, Aug. 1, 2005 ("Plea Tr."). Additionally, Magistrate Gold repeatedly confirmed that Rakmanov could understand the proceedings with the assistance of the interpreter. Id. at 3:23-24, 6:20-22, 19:2-8. Rakmanov answered "yes" when asked by Judge Gold if he had had "enough time to go over [the] case very carefully with Mr. Lombardino . . . ." Id. at 8:16-18. Rakmanov answered in the affirmative when Judge Gold asked whether he had received a copy of the indictment containing the charges against him and whether the indictment had been read to him in his native tongue. Id. at 8:22 - 9:4. Rakmanov also answered in the affirmative when Judge Gold asked if his attorney had reviewed the indictment "carefully" with him. Id. at 9:1-4.

When questioned on the plea agreement, Rakmanov testified unequivocally that he understood the contents of the document.

COURT: Mr. Rakmanov, do you recognize this document [the plea agreement] and in particular does your signature appear on the last page?

DEFENDANT: Yes.

COURT: Before you signed this was it reviewed with you carefully and read to you in Russian in the presence of your lawyer? DEFENDANT: Yes.

COURT: Did you understand what you were signing?

DEFENDANT: Yes.

COURT: Do you have any questions about what your agreement says that you would like to ask me or discuss privately with Mr. Lombardino?

DEFENDANT: No, I don't have questions.

COURT: Is everything that you and the prosecution have agreed to regarding your case accurately and completely ...


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