CRIMINAL MINUTES - GENERAL
Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS): MOTION TO WITHDRAW GUILTY PLEA (filed January 7,
2013) [Dkt. No. 144]
CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.
On April 27, 2011, a federal grand jury returned a one-court indictment, charging defendant William David Chatman with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. Dkt. No. 20 ("Indictment"). On October 17, 2011, the parties filed an executed plea agreement, which this Court accepted. Dkt. Nos. 75 ("Plea Agreement"); 87 ("plea order"). Pursuant to the agreement, on October 25, 2011, the Court conducted a Rule 11 plea colloquy, in which defendant stated that the terms of the plea agreement were acceptable to him and entered a guilty plea.
On January 7, 2013, defendant filed the instant motion to withdraw his guilty plea pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(d)(2)(B). Dkt. No. 144. On March 20, 2013, the government filed an opposition to defendant's motion. Dkt. No. 170. The Court held an evidentiary hearing on April 5, 2013. After considering the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.
A. Facts Underlying Indictment
The following facts are taken from the parties' plea agreement. Dkt. No. 75 ("Plea Agreement"). On May 18, 2010, defendant and a co-defendant ("Ross") met with an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") agent ("the UC") in which they expressed interest in purchasing between 8, 000 to 15, 000 oxycodone tablets from the UC. Plea Agreement at 6. Later that day, defendant and Ross called the UC informing him that they wished to purchase 5, 000 tablets at a price of $18 each. Id . Defendant, Ross, and another co-defendant then met with the UC personally and agreed to purchase the oxycodone. Id. at 6-7. Defendant and his co-defendant then got into a vehicle to follow the UC to the final location where they believed they would purchase the oxycodone tablets. Id. at 7. Other DEA agents stopped the vehicle while it was in route to the rendezvous point and conducted a search of the vehicle, finding $80, 856 cash, $7, 204 of which was on defendant's person.
B. Indictment and Guilty Plea
After defendant was arrested and detained at San Bernardino County Jail, defense attorney Angel Navarro was appointed to represent him. Opp'n Ex. B ("Navarro Decl.") at 2. On October 17, 2011, the parties filed an executed plea agreement. Under the agreement, defendant agreed to plead guilty to violating 21 U.S.C. § 846 in exchange for the government recommending a reduced sentence. See Plea Agreement at 2-3. Defendant further agreed to forfeit his right "to pursue any affirmative defenses, Fourth Amendment or Fifth Amendment claims, and other pretrial motions that have been field or could be filed." Id. at 9.
On October 25, 2011, the court conducted a Rule 11 hearing where defendant pled guilty, acknowledged that he had read the plea agreement, had discussed it with his attorney, understood its terms, and believed that it was in his best interest to accept the terms of the agreement. Opp'n Ex. A at 9:13-24. Defendant indicated multiple times at the hearing that he was satisfied with his attorney. Id. at 11:24-25, 12:1-6. Defendant also stated that he had discussed the indictment with his attorney, as well as the various defenses he may have to the charges set forth therein. Id. at 11:17-23; 16:21-24. Defendant's attorney agreed that it was in defendant's interest and the interest of justice for the Court to accept defendant's plea. Id. at 22:4-7. Defendant indicated that he understood the maximum possible sentence he was facing if he pled guilty, as well as the fact that the Court could not apprise defendant with any certainty what his likely sentence would be. Id. at 13:16-15:18. The Court warned defendant that it would be "virtually impossible" for him to withdraw his guilty plea once the Court accepted it, and therefore asked defendant whether he needed "more time to think this matter over before I accept your plea?" Id. at 22:12-16. Defendant responded that he did not, and the Court then made the necessary findings to accept defendant's plea. Id. at 22:23-24.
C. Post-Plea Events
On November 22, 2011, defendant participated in a "cooperation proffer" with the government in an attempt to reduce his potential sentence. Opp'n Ex. C. Thereafter, defendant's sentencing date was continued several times at his request. Dkt. Nos. 112, 118, 128. Defendant's request to be released on bond pending sentencing was also denied. Dkt. No. 116.
On November 15, 2012, the government filed its sentencing position, recommending a sentence of 140 months imprisonment (concurring with the USPO's recommendation). Dkt. No. 135 ("Sentencing Recommendation"). This recommendation did not include any credit for defendant's attempted cooperation with the government. On November 19, the Court granted defendant's request to be appointed new counsel. Dkt. No. 141.
On January 7, 2013, defendant filed the instant motion to withdraw his guilty plea, contending that Mr. Navarro incorrectly informed him that he could still file a motion to suppress evidence obtained during his traffic stop, even after he pled guilty. Mot. at 3. Defendant submitted a declaration in support of his motion on January 12, 2013. Dkt. No. 150. Defendant claimed that he wished to withdraw his guilty plea because: (1) it was not made knowingly and intelligently; (2) he pleaded guilty based on representations from his former attorney that he would file a motion to suppress evidence from the stop of the vehicle; (3) that he believed his former attorney would be filing such a motion. Id . On February 4, 2013, the Court granted the government's ex parte application finding a limited waiver of the ...