Monday, June 02, 2014

Unpublished Decisions

U.S. v. Rayford, 2014 WL 1408893 (4/14/14) (Kan.) (unpub'd) - Rule 11 allowed Mr. Rayford to file a motion to withdraw his guilty plea where through a § 2255 motion he had successfully challenged his sentence. It was not a 2d § 2255 motion, as the government argued, because he was in the same position as he was before he was initially sentenced. But the d. ct. correctly refused to allow withdrawal of the plea. Newly discovered evidence that police placed a GPS monitor on a car he drove wouldn't have been grounds for suppression because, among other things, the car was stolen and the GPS didn't work.

U.S. v. Smith, 2014 WL 1408892 (4/14/14) (Kan.) (unpub'd) - It was okay for the district court to sentence Mr. Smith to three years in prison for violating his supervised release even though he was told at his original plea proceeding that he could only face two years if he violated. He did not show he would not have pleaded guilty had he known the real maximum. Mr. Smith made the unusual argument that he would not have violated if he had known the maximum was 5 instead of 2 years. The 10th was not impressed, especially since Mr. Smith did violate after being told subsequently about the real maximum. It was not plain error for the district judge to sentence based on the judge feeling "personally betrayed."

Williams v. Weber County, 2014 WL 1424510 (4/15/14) (Ut.) (unpub'd) - The 10th turns aside a § 1983 challenge to the fixed-price, appointed contract counsel system of Weber County. The plaintiffs say counsel only spoke with them one or two times for a few minutes, never gave them a copy of the charges or discovery, told them they had no defense without investigating, never let them ask questions about the charges, and coerced them into pleading guilty. The 10th rules the plaintiffs should file habeas petitions. A § 1983 suit for damages is not appropriate when the suit essentially challenges the validity of the convictions. In a similar case in Washington where plaintiffs prevailed, unlike in this case, they only sought injunctive relief and had not been convicted.