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United States v. Gutierrez

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

July 10, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
BOBBY GUTIERREZ, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO WITHDRAW GUILTY PLEA

          Victor A. Bolden United States District Judge

         On June 1, 2017, Stanley Cavienss ("Defendant") filed a motion to withdraw his plea of guilty, which he entered before this Court on July 13, 2016. See Motion, ECF No. 327. The Court held a hearing regarding this motion on July 7, 2017. For the reasons that follow, Mr. Cavienss's motion is DENIED.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On June 7, 2016, Mr. Cavienss was indicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine in Count One; conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin in Count Two; and the use, carrying, and possession of a firearm during and in relation to and in furtherance of a drug trafficking felony in Count Six. See Indictment, ECF No. 12. Count One carried a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of five years' imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 40 years' imprisonment. See 18 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B). Count Two carried a sentence of up to 20 years' imprisonment. See 18 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C). Count Six carried a statutory mandatory minimum of five years' imprisonment, to be served consecutively to the sentence for any other offense. See 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A), (c)(1)(D) (providing that the sentence under this section cannot "run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment imposed on the person").

         On June 9, 2016, Mr. Cavienss initially entered a plea of not guilty on all counts. ECF No. 46. On July 13, 2016, Mr. Cavienss entered a plea of guilty on Count One and Count Two. ECF No. 102. Mr. Cavienss entered a plea agreement with the Government. ECF No. 103. At the July 13, 2016 change of plea hearing, Mr. Cavienss, his then-counsel Walter Bansley, and Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Kaplan appeared before the Court. See Plea Trans. 1, ECF No. 327-4.

         At the plea hearing, Mr. Bansley represented to the Court that he had no difficulty communicating with Mr. Cavienss and that he believed that Mr. Cavienss understood the implications of pleading guilty:

TFJE COURT: Mr. Bansley, are you sure that the defendant understands the nature of these proceedings?
MR. BANSLEY: I am, your Honor.
TFJE COURT: Have you had any difficulty in communicating with your client?
MR. BANSLEY: I have not, your Honor.
THE COURT: Have you discussed this case with him?
MR. BANSLEY: I have, your Honor.
THE COURT: Do you believe that he understands the rights he will be waiving by pleading guilty?
MR. BANSLEY: I do, your Honor.
THE COURT: Do you believe he's capable of understanding what that would mean?
MR. BANSLEY: He is, your Honor.
THE COURT: And do you have any doubts as to his competence to plead guilty at this time?
MR. BANSLEY: No doubts, your Honor.

Plea Trans. 7:2-21. Later during the hearing, Mr. Bansley reiterated these representations:

THE COURT: Mr. Bansley, are you sure that Mr. Cavienss has had enough time and received enough information and guidance from you about the strength of the government's case and the strength of any defense case such that he's able to make a knowing, intelligent and voluntary choice to plead guilty here today, sir? MR BANSLEY: Yes, your Honor.
THE COURT: Are you convinced he understands the rights he will be waiving by pleading guilty?
MR. BANSLEY: I am, your Honor.
THE COURT: Are you convinced he understands the minimum and maximum sentence involved with this case?
MR. BANSLEY: Yes, your Honor.

Id. 17:23-18:13.

Mr. Cavienss also stated that he had been satisfied with Mr. Bansley's representation in this case:
THE COURT: Mr. Cavienss, have you had an opportunity to discuss your case with Mr. Bansley?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, your Honor.
THE COURT: Are you satisfied with the representation you've been provided by him?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, your Honor.

Plea Trans. 7:22-8:3. Mr. Cavienss further explained that he had discussed his plea agreement with Mr. Bansley and that he was, again, satisfied with Mr. Bansley's ...


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