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United States v. Monie

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

June 9, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Bryant Lamar Monie, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky at Lexington. No. 5:15-cr-00116-1-Danny C. Reeves, District Judge.

          Renée Paradis, San Francisco, California, for Appellant.

          Charles P. Wisdom Jr., John Patrick Grant, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Lexington, Kentucky, for Appellee.

          Before: MOORE, GILMAN, and COOK, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge.

         Defendant-Appellant Bryant Lamar Monie seeks to have this court order the district court to permit him to withdraw his guilty plea because at his plea hearing the district court told him that the maximum sentence for Count 8 was ten years, when in fact Count 8 carried a mandatory-minimum sentence of fifteen years. Because the district court's misstatement was plain error, we REMAND the case to the district court with instructions that Monie be permitted to withdraw his guilty plea to Count 8 and for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Monie was convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 (Count 1); possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, aided and abetted by others, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2 (Count 6); use and carry of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) (Count 7); and being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1) (Count 8). R. 56 (Judgment at 1) (Page ID #266). Monie pleaded guilty to Counts 1 and 8 without a written plea agreement. Id. Monie proceeded to a trial and was convicted by a jury on Counts 6 and 7. Id.

         Count 8, the Armed Career Criminal Act charge, carried a mandatory-minimum sentence of fifteen years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1). During the plea colloquy, the district court erroneously did not state that Count 8 carried a mandatory-minimum sentence-instead, the district court erroneously stated that the maximum sentence for Count 8 was ten years. R. 63 (Rearraignment Hr'g Tr. at 12) (Page ID #354).

         The fifteen-year mandatory-minimum sentence for Count 8 affected every aspect of Monie's sentence. Because the "statutorily required minimum sentence" of fifteen years was "greater than the maximum of the applicable guideline range" of 135 to 168 months, the mandatory-minimum sentence for Count 8 determined the Guidelines sentence for Count 8. U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual (U.S.S.G.) § 5G1.1(b) (2015) ("Where a statutorily required minimum sentence is greater than the maximum of the applicable guideline range, the statutorily required minimum sentence shall be the guideline sentence."). Because the statutorily required minimum sentence on Count 8 was also greater than the maximum guideline range applicable to Counts 1 and 6, the mandatory-minimum sentence for Count 8 also determined the Guidelines sentence for Counts 1 and 6. U.S.S.G. § 5G1.2 cmt. 3(B) ("[W]here a statutorily required minimum sentence on any count is greater than the maximum of the applicable guideline range, the statutorily required minimum sentence on that count shall be the guideline sentence on all counts.") (citing U.S.S.G. § 5G1.1(b)). And because § 924(c) required the sentence for Count 7 to run consecutively to any other sentence, see 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(D)(ii), the fifteen-year mandatory-minimum sentence for Count 8 necessarily combined with the five-year mandatory-minimum sentence for Count 7 to create a mandatory-minimum twenty-year sentence.

         The district court sentenced Monie to the mandatory-minimum term of twenty years of imprisonment (fifteen years each for Counts 1, 6, and 8, to be served concurrently, and five years on Count 7, to be served consecutively to the fifteen-year sentence for the three other counts). R. 56 (Judgment at 2) (Page ID #267).

         Monie pleaded guilty without a written plea agreement, and nothing in the record indicates that Monie knew before he pleaded guilty that Count 8 carried a fifteen-year mandatory-minimum sentence. The Presentence Report (PSR), which was of course prepared after Monie pleaded guilty and was convicted, correctly stated that Count 8 carried a mandatory-minimum penalty of fifteen years and maximum sentence of life. R. 59 (PSR at 15) (Page ID #296).

         II. DISCUSSION

         Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 requires a district court, before accepting a plea of guilty, to "address the defendant personally in open court . . . and inform the defendant of, and determine that the defendant understands" both "any maximum possible penalty, including imprisonment, fine, and term of supervised release" and "any mandatory minimum penalty." Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(b)(1)(H), (I). "Where, as here, a defendant does not present objections regarding any alleged Rule 11 violation to the district court, we review for plain error." United States v. Mobley, 618 F.3d 539, 544 (6th Cir. 2010). To prevail on plain-error review, a defendant must show, first, that the district court committed an error. Id. Second, he must show that the error was plain, that is, "clear or obvious, rather than subject to reasonable dispute." Id. (quoting Puckett v. United States, 556 U.S. 129, 135 (2009)). Third, he must show that the error affected the defendant's substantial rights. Mobley, 618 F.3d at 544. "More specifically, . . . '[he] must show a reasonable probability that, but for the error, he would not have entered the plea.'" United States v. Hogg, 723 F.3d 730, 737 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting United States v.Dominguez Benitez, 542 U.S. 74, 83 (2004)) (second alteration in original). Fourth, he must "persuade the court that the error seriously affected the fairness, integrity or public reputation of judicial proceedings." Id. (quoting United ...


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