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United States v. Juan

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

August 29, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JOEL JUAN

For Jose Juan Gonzalez, Defendant: Samuel Pruit Simpson, V, Samuel P Simpson V PLLC, Richmond, VA.

For Joel Juan, Defendant: Vaughan Christopher Jones, LEAD ATTORNEY, Johnson Jones LLP, Richmond, VA; William Hartman Sooy, LEAD ATTORNEY, Richmond, VA.

For USA, Plaintiff: Peter S. Duffey, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of the U.S. Attorney, Richmond, VA.

Page 854

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Robert E. Payne, Senior United States District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the GOVERNMENT'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION FROM FORMER DEFENSE COUNSEL (Docket No. 58). For the reasons

Page 855

set forth below, the motion will be granted.

BACKGROUND FACTS

Joel Juan was arrested on a criminal complaint charging violations of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Vaughan Jones was appointed counsel for Juan. Later, the grand jury returned an Indictment, and then, on April 1, 2014, the grand jury returned a three-count Superseding Indictment against Defendant Juan. Count One charged Juan with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and 500 grams or more of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 846, 841(b)(1)(B) and 841(b)(1)(D). Count Two charged Juan with possession with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B). Count Three charged Juan with possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(D).

On April 17, 2014, Juan was arraigned on the Superseding Indictment and the case was set to be tried to a jury on May 23, 2014.

Shortly after arraignment, Jones, on behalf of Juan, notified counsel for the Government that Juan had decided to enter a guilty plea to Count One of the Superseding Indictment and a proposed Plea Agreement (" Agreement" ) with supporting Statement of Facts (" Statement" ) was given to Jones. On April 29, the parties appeared before United States Magistrate Judge David J. Novak for entry of the guilty plea. Before the hearing Jones advised that Juan had decided not to enter a plea. The proceedings were adjourned; but, on May 12, Jones informed counsel for the Government that, upon reflection, Juan had decided to enter the agreed upon plea. The next day, both counsel and Juan executed the Agreement and Statement.

In paragraph one, the Agreement reads in part that " [t]he defendant agrees to plead guilty to count one of the pending superseding indictment." (Agreement ¶ 1.) In paragraph four, it provides in part that " [t]he defendant is satisfied that the defendant's attorney has rendered effective assistance." (Agreement ¶ 4.) In paragraph fourteen, it provides as follows:

14. Breach of the Plea Agreement and Remedies

This agreement is effective when signed by the defendant, the defendant's attorney, and an attorney for the United States. . . . If the defendant withdraws from this agreement . . . or otherwise violates any provision of this agreement, then:

a. The United States will be released from its obligations under this ...

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