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United States v. Craine

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

September 25, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JERRY RAY CRAINE, Defendant.

          ORDER

          STEPHEN P. FRIOT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the court is defendant, Jerry Ray Craine’s Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea, filed August 30, 2019 (doc. no. 31), to which plaintiff, United States of America, has responded in opposition. Upon review of the parties’ submissions and the record in this matter, the court finds that the motion should be denied. However, as discussed below, the court finds that a supplemental plea hearing is warranted, and the supplemental plea hearing will be held separate from, and prior to, the sentencing of defendant.

         I.

         In his motion, defendant requests the court to allow him to withdraw his plea of guilty entered on March 6, 2019. Defendant pled guilty to count 1 of the indictment, which charged him with possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), the penalty for which is found in 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2). Defendant’s request to vacate his guilty plea is based, he asserts, on the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Rehaif v. United States, 139 S.Ct. 2191 (2019). In Rehaif, the Supreme Court held that “in a prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and § 924(a)(2), the Government must prove both that the defendant knew he possessed a firearm and that he knew he belonged to the relevant category of persons barred from possessing a firearm.” Id. at 2200. According to defendant, he wishes to withdraw his guilty plea so that he “may contest whether he knew he was prohibited from possessing firearms.” Doc. no. 31, p. 5.

         II.

         Rehaif does not require the government to prove that defendant knew he was prohibited from possessing a firearm. Defendant’s assertion to the contrary is plainly undermined by the Court’s unmistakable language in Rehaif. Defendant’s motion is, thus, one notch – if that – shy of frivolous. What Rehaif requires is that the government prove that defendant knew “he possessed a firearm” and also that he knew “he had the relevant status when he possessed it.” Rehaif, 139 S.Ct. at 2194. In the case at bar, the relevant status is one “who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.” 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9). Thus, plaintiff is required only to prove that defendant knew he had been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence at the time he possessed the firearm.

         Under Rule 11(d)(2)(B), Fed. R. Crim. P., “[a] defendant may withdraw a plea of guilty . . . after the court accepts the plea, but before it imposes sentence if . . . the defendant can show a fair and just reason for requesting the withdrawal.” The defendant “bears the burden of establishing a ‘fair and just reason.’” United States v. Hamilton, 510 F.3d 1209, 1214 (10th Cir. 2007) (quoting United States v. Black, 201 F.3d 1296, 1299 (10th Cir. 2000)).

         In deciding whether to allow a defendant to withdraw a guilty plea, the court must consider the following seven factors: “(1) whether the defendant has asserted his innocence; (2) whether withdrawal would prejudice the government; (3) whether the defendant delayed in filing his motion, and if so, the reason for the delay; (4) whether withdrawal would substantially inconvenience the court; (5) whether close assistance of counsel was available to the defendant; (6) whether the plea was knowing and voluntary; and (7) whether the withdrawal would waste judicial resources.” United States v. Yazzie, 407 F.3d 1139, 1142 (10th Cir. 2005) (quoting United States v. Sandoval, 390 F.3d 1294, 1298 (10th Cir. 2004)). Another factor the court may properly consider for its decision is “the likelihood of conviction.” United States v. Carr, 80 F.3d 413, 421 n. 5 (10th Cir. 1996).

         III. Consideration of Relevant Factors

         a. Assertion of Innocence

         Defendant represents that he wants to withdraw his guilty plea to “contest whether he knew he was prohibited from possessing firearms.” Doc. no. 31, p. 5. But the government is required to prove only that defendant knew of his relevant status – convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence – at the time he possessed the firearm. Defendant has not asserted legal or factual innocence with respect to his knowledge that he had been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence at the time he possessed the firearm. Indeed, defendant, through counsel, “admits that he knew he was previously convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence at the time he knowingly possessed the firearm.” Doc. no. 31, p. 5.[1] The court finds that this factor weighs against defendant.

         b. Close Assistance of Counsel Available

         Throughout these proceedings, including the guilty plea, defendant has been represented by experienced counsel. Defendant specifically represented in his petition to enter plea of guilty that he was satisfied with the services of his counsel. Doc. no. 18, ¶ 10. He also testified during his plea hearing that he was “fully satisfied with the counsel, representation and advice given to [him] . . . by [defense counsel].” Doc. no. 33-1, p. 6. The court thus finds that this factor weighs against defendant.

         c. Plea ...


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