United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Clarksburg
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING PLEA OF GUILTY
IN FELONY CASE
MICHAEL JOHN ALOI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge
by the District Court for purposes of conducting proceedings
pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 (Dkt. No.
62). Defendant, Steven Helms, in person and by counsel,
Michael Sharley, appeared before me on November 21, 2016. The
Government appeared by Assistant United States Attorney,
Traci Cook. The Court determined that Defendant was prepared
to enter a plea of "Guilty" to Count One of the
Court proceeded with the Rule 11 proceeding by first placing
Defendant under oath and inquiring into Defendant's
competency. The Court determined Defendant was competent to
proceed with the Rule 11 plea hearing and cautioned and
examined Defendant under oath concerning all matters
mentioned in Rule 11.
Court next inquired of Defendant concerning his understanding
of his right to have an Article III Judge hear the entry of
his guilty plea and his understanding of the difference
between an Article III Judge and a Magistrate Judge.
Defendant thereafter stated in open court that he voluntarily
waived his right to have an Article III Judge hear his plea
and voluntarily consented to the undersigned Magistrate Judge
hearing his plea. Defendant tendered to the Court a written
Waiver of Article III Judge and Consent to Enter Guilty Plea
before Magistrate Judge. The waiver and consent wa s s i gne
d by Def en dant, countersigned by Defendant's counsel,
and concurred by the signature of the Assistant United States
consideration of the sworn testimony of Defendant, as well as
the representations of his counsel and the representations of
the Government, the Court finds that the oral and written
waiver of an Article III Judge and consent to enter a guilty
plea before a Magistrate Judge was freely and voluntarily
given. Additionally, the Court finds that the written waiver
and consent was freely and voluntarily executed by Defendant
Steven Helms only after having had his rights fully explained
to him and having a full understanding of those rights
through consultation with his counsel, as well as through
questioning by the Court. The Court ORDERED
the written Waiver and Consent to Enter Guilty Plea before a
Magistrate Judge filed and made part of the record.
the Court determined that Defendant's plea was pursuant
to a written plea agreement, and asked the Government to
tender the original to the Court. The Court asked counsel for
the Government if the agreement was the sole agreement
offered to Defendant. The Government responded that it was,
and counsel for Defendant confirmed the same. The Court asked
counsel for the Government to summarize the written plea
agreement. Counsel for Defendant and Defendant stated that
the agreement as summarized by counsel for the Government was
correct and complied with their understanding of the
agreement. The undersigned further inquired of Defendant
regarding his understanding of the written plea agreement.
Defendant stated he understood the terms of the written plea
agreement and also stated that it contained the whole of his
agreement with the Government and no promises or
representations were made to him by the Government other than
those terms contained in the written plea agreement. The
Court ORDERED the written plea agreement
undersigned then reviewed with Defendant Count One of the
Indictment and the elements the Government would have to
prove, charging him with conspiracy to possess with the
intent to deliver a controlled substance, heroin, in
violation of Title 21, U.S.C., Sections 846 and 841(a)(1).
Subsequently, Defendant Steven Helms pled
GUILTY to the charge contained in Count One
of the Indictment. However, before accepting Defendant's
plea, the undersigned inquired of Defendant's
understanding of the charges against him, inquired of
Defendant's understanding of the consequences of him
pleading guilty to the charges, and obtained the factual
basis for Defendant's plea.
Government proffered a factual basis for the plea. Neither
counsel for Defendant nor Defendant had any questions for the
witness. Defendant stated he heard, understood, and did not
disagree with the Government's proffer. Additionally,
Defendant provided a factual basis for the commission of the
offense. The undersigned Magistrate Judge concludes the
offense charged in Count One of the Indictment is supported
by an independent basis in fact concerning each of the
essential elements of such offense, and that an independent
basis is provided by the Defendant's testimony.
undersigned then reviewed with Defendant the statutory
penalties applicable to an individual adjudicated guilty of
the felony charge contained in Count One of the Indictment
and the impact of the sentencing guidelines on sentencing in
general. From said review, the undersigned Magistrate Judge
determined Defendant understood the nature of the charges
pending against him and that the possible statutory maximum
sentence which could be imposed upon his conviction or
adjudication of guilty on Count One was a term of
imprisonment of not more than twenty (20) years. The
undersigned further determined Defendant understood a fine of
not more than $1, 000, 000.00 could be imposed, both fine and
imprisonment could be imposed, he would be subject to a
period of not more than three (3) years of supervised
release, and the Court would impose a special mandatory
assessment of $100.00 for the felony conviction payable on or
before the date of sentencing. Defendant also understood that
his sentence could be increased if he had a prior firearm
offense, violent felony conviction, or prior drug conviction.
He also understood he might be required by the Court to pay
the costs of his incarceration, supervision, and probation.
undersigned also informed Defendant whether he understood
that by pleading guilty he was forfeiting other rights such
as right to vote, right to serve on a jury, and the right to
legally possess a firearm.
the undersigned asked Defendant whether he understood that if
he were not a citizen of the United States, by pleading
guilty to a felony charge he would be subject to deportation
at the conclusion of any sentence; that he would be denied
future entry into the United States; and that he would be
denied citizenship if he ever applied for it. Defendant
stated that he understood.
undersigned also reviewed with Defendant his waiver of
appellate and collateral attack rights. Defendant understood
that he was waiving his right to appeal his conviction and
sentence to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on any ground
whatsoever, including those grounds set forth in 18 U.S.C.
§ 3742. Defendant further understood that under his plea
agreement, he was waiving his right to challenge his
conviction and sentence in any post-conviction proceeding,
including any proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
Defendant understood, however, that he was reserving the
right to raise claims of ineffective assistance of counsel or
prosecutorial misconduct that he learned about after the plea
hearing and agreed that he was unaware of any ineffective
assistance of counsel or prosecutorial misconduct in his case
at this time. From the foregoing, the undersigned determined
that Defendant understood his appellate rights and knowingly
gave up those rights pursuant to the conditions contained in
the written plea agreement.
undersigned Magistrate Judge further examined Defendant
relative to his knowledgeable and voluntary execution of the
written plea bargain agreement, and determined the entry into
said written plea bargain ...