United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Harrisonburg Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENADATION
JAMES G. WELSH, Magistrate Judge.
Having been arrested on a criminal complaint (docket # 1), having been brought before the court without delay for an initial appearance pursuant to Rule 5 (docket #4), and probable cause having been established in accordance with Rule 5.1 (docket #7), on January 20, 2015 came the United States, by counsel, and came also the defendant, in his own proper person and by his counsel. At which time counsel for the defendant represented that the defendant desired enter a plea of guilty to the felony offense alleged against him in the Indictment and that his decision to enter a plea of guilty was not based any plea agreement or other understanding. In accordance with the provisions of Title 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(3) and upon the defendant's informed and written consent, this case was referred to the undersigned for the purpose of conducting a plea hearing (docket #14).
As set forth in more detail in a one-count Indictment (docket #10), previously returned by the Grand Jury, charging the above-named defendant in Count One that on or about January 28, 2014, in the county of Shenandoah in the Western Judicial District of Virginia, this defendant, an alien, was found in the United States after having been deported there from on or about November 4, 2011 at or near Brownsville, Texas, and not having obtained the express consent of the Secretary of Homeland Security to reapply for admission to the United States. All in violation of 8 U.S.C. §§ 1326(a) and (b)(1).
The Rule 11 plea hearing was recorded by a court reporter. See Rule 11(g). Also present was a properly qualified Spanish language interpreter for the defendant. See Rule 28. The United States was represented by Erin M. H. Kulpa, Assistant United States Attorney. The defendant was at all times present in person and with his counsel, Lisa M. Lorish, Assistant Federal Public Defender. Inquiry was made to the defendant pursuant to Rule 11(b); the government presented a written Agreed Statement of Facts for the purpose of establishing an independent basis for the plea, and the defendant entered a plea of guilty to the felony offense charged in Count One of the Indictment.
DEFENDANT'S RESPONSES TO RULE 11 INQUIRIES
After the defendant was placed under oath, he was addressed personally in open court. He stated he understood his obligation to testify truthfully in all respects under penalty of perjury, and he understood the government's right in a prosecution for perjury or false statement to use against him any statement that he gives under oath. See Rule 11(b)(1)(A).
The defendant testified to the following personal facts: his full legal name is ESTEBAN ORTIZ-NAVAEZ; he is thirty (30) years of age, and he has an 6th grade education in Mexico. He stated he understood he was in court for the purpose of entering a plea of guilty to a felony offense which he could not later withdraw. Upon inquiry, the defendant's attorney represented that she had no reservations about the defendant's competency to enter a plea of guilty to the charged felony offense set forth in Count One of the Indictment.
The defendant acknowledged that he had received a copy of the Indictment, and it had been fully translated and explained to him. He stated that he had discussed the charge with his attorney and had been given enough time to do so. He stated he understood the nature of the charge against him in the Indictment and specifically understood it charged a felony offense. See Rule 11(b)(1)(G). He testified he had discussed any possible defenses with his attorney, and he had been given adequate time to prepare any defenses he might have to the charge. He stated that his decision to enter a plea of guilty to Count One had been made after consulting with his attorney. He stated he was fully satisfied with the services of his attorney, and it was his intention and desire to enter a plea of guilty.
The defendant confirmed that he fully recognized and understood his right to have the Rule 11 hearing conducted by a United States district judge, and he gave his verbal and written consent to proceed with the hearing before the undersigned United States magistrate judge. The defendant's written consent was filed and made a part of the record.
He then testified that no one had made any threat, promise or inducement of any kind in an effort to get him to enter a plea of guilty and that no one had attempted in any way to force him to plead guilty in this case.
After counsel for the government outlined the range of punishment for the offense, the defendant acknowledged that he understood the maximum penalty provided by law for the Count One offense was confinement in a federal penitentiary for a term of ten (10) years, a fine of $250.000.00 and a term of supervised release or deportation and exclusion from the United States for at least three (3) years. See Rule 11(b)(1)(H)-(I). In addition, the defendant acknowledged that he understood that he would be required to pay a mandatory $100.00 special assessment. See Rule 11(b)(1)(L).
The defendant then acknowledged that he knew his plea, if accepted, would result in him being adjudged guilty of a felony offense and that such adjudication may deprive him of valuable civil rights, such as the right to vote, the right to hold public office, the right to serve on a jury, and the right to possess any kind of firearm.
The defendant was informed, and he expressly acknowledged, that the court's determination of his sentence would include consideration of multiple factors, including: the nature and circumstances of the offense; the defendant's history and characteristics; the seriousness of the offense; the need to promote respect for the law; the need to provide for just punishment and afford adequate deterrence; the need to protect the public; any determined need to provide the defendant with educational or vocational training, medical care or other correctional treatment in the most efficient manner; the kinds of available sentences; the pertinent sentencing guidelines and policy statements; the need to avoid unwanted sentence disparities; and any need to provide for restitution. He also acknowledged that he understood the court may order him to make full restitution to any victim and may require him to forfeit certain of his property to the government. See Rule 11(b)(1)(J)B(K).
The defendant testified that he and his attorney had talked about how the Sentencing Commission Guidelines might apply to his case and the court's obligation to calculate the applicable sentencing-guideline range and to consider that range, possible departures under the Guidelines and other factors under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). See Rule 11(b)(1)(M). He stated that he understood that the court will not be able to determine the recommended guideline sentence in his case until after the pre-sentence ...