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United States v. Knight

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Clarksburg

April 3, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
TRAVIS KNIGHT, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MICHAEL JOHN ALOI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This 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 (ECF No. 22). Defendant, Travis Knight, in person and by counsel, Brian J. Kornbrath, appeared before me on April 3, 2018. The Government appeared by Assistant United States Attorney, David J. Perry. The Court determined that Defendant was prepared to enter a plea of "Guilty" to Counts One and Two of the Indictment.

         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.

         After placing Defendant under oath, the Court informed Defendant that if he gave false answers to the Court's questions, his answers may later be used against him in a prosecution for perjury or false statement and increase his sentence in this case.

         The 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 was signed by Defendant, countersigned by Defendant's counsel, and concurred by the signature of the Assistant United States Attorney.

         Upon 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 Travis Knight 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 parties represented to the Court that there is no plea agreement in this case. Defendant stated in open court that he fully understood he was pleading guilty to Counts One and Two of the original Indictment and that no other agreements had been made between himself and the Government.

         The Court confirmed that Defendant had received and reviewed with his attorney the original Indictment in this matter. Defendant waived reading of the original Indictment in open court. The Court then reviewed with Defendant Counts One and Two of the original Indictment and the elements the Government would have to prove, charging him with Uttering Counterfeit Currency and Attempted Uttering of Counterfeit Currency in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 472. Subsequently, Defendant Travis Knight pled GUILTY to the charge contained in Counts One and Two 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.

         The Government called Keith Heckman from the Secret Service to present 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 testimony of the Government's witness, as it related to the two counts of the Indictment he pled guilty to. Additionally, Defendant provided a factual basis for the commission of the offense. The undersigned Magistrate Judge concludes the offenses charged in Counts One and Two of the Indictment are supported by an independent basis in fact concerning each of the essential elements of such offenses.

         The Court then reviewed with Defendant the maximum sentence for Counts One and Two, to which Defendant proposed to enter a plea of guilty. The Court also advised Defendant that, as part of the fine, he could be required to pay the costs of imprisonment, community confinement, or supervision. The Court also informed Defendant of the mandatory special assessment fee applicable to this case and that restitution may be an issue in this case.

         The Court informed Defendant that the Sentencing Guidelines are merely advisory. However, under the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, certain Sentencing Guidelines could be used in determining a sentence in this case. Defendant stated that he had reviewed the various factors taken into consideration by the Sentencing Guidelines with his attorney and that he understood that the sentence could not be determined until after the United States Probation Office had prepared a presentence report. The Court also noted that if the sentence ultimately imposed was more severe than that expected, Defendant would not have the right to withdraw the plea of guilty.

         The Court reviewed with Defendant all of the rights that are forfeited by tender of a plea of guilty. The Court advised Defendant of his right to plead not guilty and maintain that plea during a trial before a jury of his peers. The Court also informed Defendant of the right to be represented by counsel during trial, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, the right not to testify, the right to present evidence and subpoena witnesses and the right to have the Government prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The Court also noted that the jury's verdict must be unanimous. Defendant stated in open court that he understood all of these rights and understood that he would be giving up all of these rights by entering a plea of guilty. Defendant and his counsel stated that Defendant understood all of the consequences of pleading guilty.

         Defendant stated that the plea was not a result of any threat, coercion, or harassment and that the plea was not the result of any promises. Defendant stated there was nothing he had asked his lawyer to do that was not done. Defendant further stated that his attorney had adequately represented him in this matter and that neither he nor his attorney had found an adequate defense to the charges contained in Counts One and Two of the original Indictment.

         Defendant then entered a plea of GUILTY to Counts One and Two of the original Indictment and stated that he was in fact guilty of the crimes charged ...


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