The Court held that the district court did not err by allowing the Government to withdraw its Rule 35 motion, as the plea agreement giving the Government discretion to file a motion for a sentence reduction also gave the Government discretion to later withdraw such a motion.
The Court vacated the defendant's sentence and ordered that he be re-sentenced in front of another judge, holding that the Government breached the plea agreement when it argued for a sentence within the Guidelines range that was calculated by the sentencing court and that was higher than the range anticipated by the plea agreement. The plea agreement obligated the Government to argue for a sentence within the range based on the parties' stipulations in the plea agreement.
The Court agreed that an assertion of "legal innocence" as well as "factual innocence" can justify withdrawing a plea, but affirmed the district court’s denial of the defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea since “bald assertions of innocence are insufficient,” and James had failed to allege a sufficient basis for an entrapment defense that he could have utilized at trial.
The Court held that it was plain error for the district court to accept the defendant's plea to armed robbery where the factual basis was based on his placing a closed pocket knife on the bank teller's counter while pulling a plastic bag out of his pocket, as this did not constitute "use of a deadly weapon."
United States v. Alicia Norman, et al, No. 17-3070 (D.C.C. June 11, 2019) ISSUES: Criminal Procedure, Pleas, Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, Sentencing Guidelines On an appeal from a bribery and marijuana distribution case, the Court rejected the defendants’ numerous allegations of error except to the extent it held that one of the defendant’s had raised […]