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United States v. Boston

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 14, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
SYLVESTER BOSTON JR., Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO WITHDRAW GUILTY PLEA [321]

          Nancy G. Edmunds United States District Judge

         Defendant Sylvester Boston Jr. ("Boston Jr.") made his first appearance in this case on July 11, 2014. On July 10, 2017, after three years of delay by the defendants, Boston Jr. finally pled guilty to Count One of the Third Superseding Indictment (one day before trial). Now, over four months later, Boston Jr. requests that he be allowed to withdraw from his guilty plea. Boston Jr. raises a host of claims regarding one of his two attorneys: that the attorney was ineffective; provided him with bad advice; and “aggressively forced” him to plead guilty. (Dkt. 321.) Because Boston Jr. is wrong as a matter of both fact and law and because he offers no “fair and just reason” for withdrawal, his pro se motion is denied.

         I. Legal Standard

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(d)(2)(B), a defendant may withdraw a guilty plea prior to sentencing if he “can show a fair and just reason for requesting withdrawal.” Id. A defendant has no right to withdraw his guilty plea. United States v. Martin, 668 F.3d 787, 794 (6th Cir. 2012). The purpose of the rule is “to allow a hastily entered plea made with unsure heart and confused mind to be undone, not to allow a defendant to make a tactical decision to enter a plea, wait several weeks, and then obtain a withdrawal if he believes he made a bad choice in pleading guilty.United States v. Alexander, 948 F.2d 1002, 1004 (6th Cir. 1991) (quotation and citation omitted); United States v. Bashara, 27 F.3d 1174, 1181 (6th Cir. 1994); United States v. Dixon, 479 F.3d 431, 436 (6th Cir. 2007). “Withdrawal of a plea is appropriate where there is a real confusion or misunderstanding of the terms of the agreement.” United States v. Ellis, 470 F.3d 275, 281 (6th Cir. 2006).

         The Sixth Circuit has set out seven non-exhaustive factors to consider in deciding a motion to withdraw a guilty plea:

1) the amount of time that elapsed between the plea and the motion to withdraw it;
2) the presence (or absence) of a valid reason for the failure to move for withdrawal earlier in the proceedings;
3) whether the defendant has asserted or maintained his innocence;
4) the circumstances underlying the entry of the guilty plea;
5) the defendant's nature and background;
6) the degree to which the defendant has had prior experience with the criminal justice system; and
7) potential prejudice to the government if the motion to withdraw is granted.

Bashara, 27 F.3d at 1181; United States v. Pluta, 144 F.3d 968, 973 (6th Cir. 1998).

         Motions to withdraw a guilty plea are (and should be) rarely granted-that is the standard in the Sixth Circuit. United States v. Blander, __ Fed. App'x __, 2017 WL 4964441, at *7 (6th Cir. Nov. 1, 2017). The Sixth Circuit has cautioned: “[w]hen a defendant has entered a knowing and voluntary plea of guilty at a hearing at which he acknowledged committing the crime, the occasion for setting aside a guilty plea should seldom arise.” Ellis, 470 F.3d at 280 (emphasis added). “The ‘withdrawal of a guilty plea is inherently in derogation of the ...


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