Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Burns

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

January 9, 2020

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
BRAXTON DONTREL BURNS

          ORDER

          DANIEL P. JORDAN III CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Defendant Braxton Dontrel Burns wants to withdraw his guilty plea. For the following reasons, his motion [36] is denied.[1]

         I. Background

         On August 19, 2019, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Burns with being a felon in possession of a firearm. As discussed more fully below, Burns entered a knowing and voluntary guilty plea on September 13, 2019. After receiving the Presentence Investigative Report (PSR), Burns announced his desire to withdraw his plea and proceed to trial.

         II. Analysis

         Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(d)(2)(B) allows a defendant to withdraw a guilty plea if he or she can “show a fair and just reason for requesting the withdrawal.” Whether such a reason exists is decided under the following non-exclusive Carr factors:

(1) whether or not the defendant has asserted his innocence; (2) whether or not the government would suffer prejudice if the withdrawal motion were granted; (3) whether or not the defendant has delayed in filing his withdrawal motion; (4) whether or not the withdrawal would substantially inconvenience the court; (5) whether or not close assistance of counsel was available; (6) whether or not the original plea was knowing and voluntary; and (7) whether or not the withdrawal would waste judicial resources; and, as applicable, the reason why defenses advanced later were not proffered at the time of the original pleading, or the reasons why a defendant delayed in making his withdrawal motion.

United States v. Carr, 740 F.2d 339, 343-44 (5th Cir. 1984). “The Carr factors are considered for the totality of the circumstances, and the district court is not required to make a finding as to each individual factor.” United States v. McKnight, 570 F.3d 641, 646 (5th Cir. 2009).

         In this case, Burns generally says that despite his sworn testimony admitting guilt, he is actually innocent. He also explains that he entered his plea with the belief that the guideline range would be much lower than the one contained in the PSR. These reasons are not sufficient under Carr.

         A. Claimed Innocence

         There are two problems with Burns's recently professed innocence: (1) he offers no proof of innocence and (2) his argument contradicts his sworn statements in open court. To begin, “a defendant's assertion of actual innocence alone, without supporting evidence, is insufficient to warrant allowing withdrawal under Carr.” United States v. Harrison, 777 F.3d 227, 235 (5th Cir. 2015). Burns offers no evidence to support his belated profession of innocence, and his claim is undermined by the fact that he made it only after discovering that the PSR recommended a higher than expected guideline range.

         Next, Burns gave voluntary, informed, and under-oath admissions of guilt during his plea hearing. Burns agreed that he fully understood the charges against him. Plea Tr. [37-1] at 7. He then stated that he was knowingly and voluntarily agreeing to plead guilty because he was in fact guilty. Id. at 14. He also said he fully understood the essential elements of the offense. Id. at 20-21. And finally, Burns acknowledged that he understood the Government's proffered facts and agreed with them. Id. at 24. All this occurred before he entered his guilty plea. Id.

         “Such ‘[s]olemn declarations in open court carry a strong presumption of verity,' which is untouched by [Burns's] unsworn statements” professing his innocence. United States v. Martinez, 672 Fed.Appx. 475, 476 (5th Cir. 2017) (quoting Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 74 (1977)); see also United States v. Ehrman, 777 Fed.Appx. 778, 779 (5th Cir. 2019) (“Ehrman's proffered evidence, at best, supports a theory of defense but does not demonstrate that he is actually innocent of the charged fraud or overcome his solemn declarations, made under oath, that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.