United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Timothy J. Savage, J.
29, 2016, pursuant to a plea agreement, the defendant pleaded
guilty to one count of conspiracy, three counts of conversion
of government property, one count of bank fraud, one count of
corrupt interference with Internal Revenue laws, and one
count of attempting to utter and pass a fictitious financial
obligation. One week later, he moved, pro se, to
withdraw his guilty plea.
considering his contentions and reviewing his guilty plea
colloquy, I denied his motion. This memorandum opinion
explains the rationale for the denial.
to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(e), a defendant may
withdraw a guilty plea if he has a “fair and
just” reason for doing so. The burden of demonstrating
a fair and just reason falls on the defendant and is a
substantial one. United States v. Hyde, 520 U.S.
670, 676-77 (1997); United States v. Jones, 336 F.3d
245, 252 (3d Cir. 2003).
considering a motion to withdraw a guilty plea, the district
court must consider three factors: (1) whether the defendant
asserts his innocence; (2) the strength of the
defendant's reasons for wanting to withdraw the plea; and
(3) whether the government would be prejudiced by permitting
withdrawal of the plea. United States v. Brown, 250
F.3d 811, 815 (3d Cir. 2001). The third factor is only
considered if the defendant satisfies the first two factors.
United States v. Jones, 336 F.3d 245, 255 (3d Cir.
2003). In other words, absent a claim of innocence or a
strong reason for withdrawal of the plea, the government is
not required to prove prejudice. United States v.
Wilson, 429 F.3d 455, 460 n.5 (3d Cir. 2005).
the first factor, a bald assertion of innocence is
insufficient. The defendant must recite facts that either
contradict the government's charges or support a defense.
United States v. Brown, 250 F.3d 811, 815 (3d Cir.
2001). Hameed has done neither.
to his recent claim of innocence, Hameed admitted at his plea
colloquy that he did what the government claims he did. He
stated he had read the factual basis as detailed in the
government's change of plea memorandum which was
incorporated into the record. He did not dispute those facts.
The defendant's attorney confirmed that she had reviewed
the factual basis with him. The defendant himself, in his
words, stated he had read the “evidence they were going
to bring if we went to trial.” At no time did he
protest or reject any of the facts the government contended
it could prove.
has also failed to demonstrate a strong reason to withdraw
his plea. One week after expressing his satisfaction with his
attorney, he claims she was ineffective. He does not point to
any specific act or failure to act that he contends supports
his ineffectiveness claim as it relates to the plea
proceedings. Instead, he now claims she coerced him to plead
a plea may be withdrawn on the basis of ineffective counsel,
the defendant must show that his attorney's advice was
unreasonable under professional standards and that he
suffered “sufficient prejudice” as a result of
his counsel's errors. United States v. Jones,
336 F.3d 245, 253 (3d Cir. 2003) (citing United States v.
Day, 969 F.2d 39, 45 (3d Cir. 1992).
is no indication that his former attorney forced or unduly
influenced Hameed. Throughout the hearing, he conferred with
counsel. More importantly, Hameed made all decisions himself.
In fact, he was engaged in the whole process. He insisted on
limiting the appellate waiver as part of his agreement with
his plea colloquy, the defendant acknowledged that he had
read the indictment many times, his attorney explained the
charges and the possible defenses to him, he had read and
discussed the contents of the plea agreement with his lawyer
before signing it, and he understood the government's
version of the factual basis for the plea and his role in the
offense conduct. He knew he had the right to go to trial. He
was also advised of the rights that he would have at trial.
knew what he was doing. He insisted on conditions as part of
the plea agreement. Although the plea agreement contained a
waiver of appeal provision, he reserved the right to appeal
the rulings precluding him from asserting at trial the
constitutionality of the laws of the United States defining
the charged offenses, the Internal Revenue Code, and Treasury
regulations. He also preserved his claim that the federal
court has no jurisdiction over him as a sovereign citizen and
a Moorish citizen.
having failed to satisfy the innocence or the good reason
factors, we do not reach the prejudice-to-the-government
factor. However, without going into detail, we ...