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.
50). Defendant, Cole Leggett, in person and by counsel,
Richard Collins, and local counsel Tom Dyer, appeared before
me on November 10, 2016. The Government appeared by Assistant
United States Attorney, Jarod Douglas. The Court determined
that Defendant was prepared to enter a plea of
"Guilty" to Count One of the Indictment.
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
Cole Leggett 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 filed (ECF No. 68).
undersigned then reviewed with Defendant Count One of the
Indictment and the elements the Government would have to
prove, charging him with conspiracy to violate the Federal
Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
371 and 21 U.S.C. § 331(a). Subsequently, Defendant Cole
Leggett 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.
Court heard the testimony of FDA Special Agent Sean Sweeney.
Sean Sweeney testified as to his investigation and as to the
defendant's acts and involvement in distributing
counsel for Defendant nor Defendant had any questions for the
witness. Defendant stated he heard, understood, and did not
disagree with the testimony of the Government's witness.
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
independent basis is provided by Agent Sweeney's
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 imprisonment for not
more than three (3) years. The undersigned further determined
Defendant understood a fine of not more than $10, 000.00
could be imposed, both fine and imprisonment could be
imposed, he would be subject to a period of at least 1 year
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,
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 ...