Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Lander

United States District Court, W.D. New York

May 11, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RYAN C. LANDER, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          HONORABLE RICHARD J. ARCARA UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         The Defendant, Ryan C. Lander, has moved pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(d) to withdraw a guilty plea. Defendant Lander contends he was coerced by his former legal counsel and his father into pleading guilty to one count of Production of Child Pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(5)(B). The Defendant seeks to withdraw his guilty plea and to file pretrial motions to suppress oral admissions and evidence that he suggests were obtained because law enforcement officers questioned him without Miranda[1] warnings and coerced him into consenting to searches and seizures. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds the motion of the Defendant to withdraw his guilty plea is without merit, and the motion is denied.

         DISCUSSION

         Overview of Relevant Law.

         As the Second Circuit has stated, “[t]here is no legal requirement that the decision to plead guilty be an easy one.” United States v. Doe, 537 F.3d 204, 213 (2d Cir. 2008). “A guilty plea is no mere formality, but [is] a ‘grave and solemn act.' ” United States v. Arteca, 411 F.3d 315, 319 (2d Cir. 2005) (quoting United States v. Hyde, 520 U.S. 670, 677 (1997)). “ ‘[S]ociety has a strong interest in the finality of guilty pleas, and allowing withdrawal of pleas not only undermines confidence in the integrity of our judicial procedures, but also increases the volume of judicial work, and delays and impairs the orderly administration of justice.' ” United States v. Schmidt, 373 F.3d 100, 103 (2d Cir. 2004) (quoting United States v. Maher, 108 F.3d 1513, 1529 (2d Cir. 1997)).

         Notwithstanding the strong interest in the finality of guilty pleas, it bears emphasis that a “guilty plea operates as a waiver of important rights, and is valid only if done voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently, ‘with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences.' ” Bradshaw v. Stumpf, 545 U.S. 175, 183 (2005) (quoting Brady v. United States, 397 U.S. 742, 748 (1970)). Accordingly, pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. Rule 11(d), a defendant may be permitted to withdraw a guilty plea after the plea has been formally accepted by a court, but before sentencing, for “any fair and just reason.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(d)(2)(B). A defendant bears the burden to establish a fair and just reason for guilty plea withdrawal. United States v. Rivernider, 828 F.3d 91, 104 (2d Cir. 2016) .

         In general, a Rule 11(d) motion to withdraw a guilty plea requires the court to consider:

(1) whether the defendant has asserted his or her legal innocence in the motion to withdraw the guilty plea; (2) the amount of time that has elapsed between the plea and the motion (the longer the elapsed time, the less likely withdrawal would be fair and just); and (3) whether the government would be prejudiced by a withdrawal of the plea.

United States v. Schmidt, 373 F.3d 100, 102-03 (2d Cir. 2004) (per curiam). The court is afforded “large discretion” to determine whether these considerations rise to the level of “fair and just reason[s]” for withdrawal of a guilty plea when the court has itself accepted the guilty plea. United States v. Saft, 558 F.2d 1073, 1082 (2d Cir. 1977).

         Of course, “[c]ourts may also look to whether the defendant has raised a significant question about the voluntariness of the original plea.” Schmidt, 373 F.3d at 103 (quotation and modifications omitted). Questions of voluntariness may be deemed insignificant and resolved without an evidentiary hearing, and the motion to withdraw the guilty plea may be denied, when a defendant's allegations of involuntariness are contradicted by the defendant's statements made under oath during the plea proceeding. See United States v. Gonzalez, 970 F.2d 1095, 1101 (2d Cir. 1992); United States v. Diaz, 176 F.3d 52, 114 (2d Cir. 1999) (application to remand for evidentiary hearing denied where defendant's claim that he was threatened into pleading guilty was unsupported in record and contradicted by his plea colloquy); United States v. Torres, 129 F.3d 710, 715-16 (2d Cir. 1997) (same). Similarly, a Rule 11(d) motion to withdraw a guilty plea may be denied without a hearing when supporting allegations are “simply conclusory” or “inherently incredible.” Gonzalez, 970 F.2d at 1100.

         The Change-of-Plea Proceeding. During Defendant Lander's plea colloquy on February 4, 2015, the Defendant was sworn to tell the truth, and was instructed and encouraged to proceed deliberately. Dkt. No. 75, pp. 2-3. The following exchange was among the Court, the Defendant's former attorney, and the Defendant:

THE COURT: Mr. Covert, you have gone over the charge with your client. It's pretty straightforward. Are you satisfied he understands it?
MR. COVERT: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: And you've gone over the terms and conditions of the plea agreement?
MR. COVERT: Many times, Your Honor.
THE COURT: And his rights under Rule 11?
MR. COVERT: Absolutely, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Now, sir, you have discussed this whole matter with your attorney. He's explained to you what your legal rights are, what your legal options are. You probably didn't like to hear what he had to tell you, but he's not there to make you feel good. He's there to be your legal advisor. And apparently, based on those discussions, you're here today to waive certain rights and to plead guilty to Count 1 under the terms and conditions of the plea agreement. Are you fully satisfied with the advice and counsel you received from your lawyer?
DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Any complaints?
DEFENDANT: No, sir.

Dkt. No. 75, pp. 3-4. Defendant Lander, while under oath during the relatively formal atmosphere of the Rule 11 change-of-plea proceeding, confirmed his satisfaction with his counsel, Mr. Covert. Id. He did not say Mr. Covert was pressuring him or coercing him to enter a guilty ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.