United States v. Strother
Opinion Date: October 9, 2020
Judge: Stephen Andrew Higginson
Areas of Law: Criminal Law
The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Because defendant's arguments for plea withdrawal—particularly his argument that his plea was not given knowingly and voluntarily—derive from his claim that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, the court chose to address the merits of the district court's denial of his motion to withdraw his plea. The court considered the Carr factors and the totality of the circumstances, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Given defendant's consistent, repeated statements in court affirming that he understood the required elements of his charge up until the time of his plea withdrawal motion, the court found that the district court did not err in determining that the record did not support defendant's assertion that he was unaware of the "knowingly possessed" element of his offense. Furthermore, the record supports the conclusion that counsel was available to defendant throughout the proceedings; defendant's original plea was knowing and voluntary; defendant delayed in filing his motion to withdraw; and the government would suffer prejudice if the withdrawal motion were granted.
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