United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on several motions by the
defendant Eddie Paul Harris, who pleaded guilty to being a
felon in possession of a firearm.
matter was set for trial on Monday, January 23, 2017. On the
Friday before trial was set to begin, Harris moved for a
suppression hearing. The Court granted the motion and
conducted a suppression hearing on the morning of trial at
which both parties were offered the opportunity to present
evidence and argument.
hearing, Harris moved to suppress the sawed-off shotgun that
forms the basis for his charge and also moved to suppress
certain statements he made to law enforcement officers at the
time of his arrest regarding the location of the gun. After
the hearing, the Court denied the motion. Among other reasons
for denying the motion, the Court noted that Harris was on
probation at the time of the search of his home and he had
specifically consented to the warrantless search of his
person and residence anytime his probation officer should
have a reasonable suspicion that contraband would be found
there. The Court found that such reasonable suspicion existed
at the time of the search.
Court then proceeded with the trial. The jury was selected,
the lawyers gave opening statements, and the United States
completed its presentation of evidence. At the close of the
United States' case, Harris advised the Court that he
wished to plead guilty to the charge. The Court conducted a
rearraignment and Harris pleaded guilty. Sentencing is
scheduled for May 5, 2017.
Harris has been represented by counsel throughout these
proceedings, he has now filed multiple motions pro se. With
the first of those motions, Harris seeks to withdraw his
guilty plea. He argues that his plea was not knowingly and
voluntarily entered into but was instead the result of
“undue influence” by his counsel.
order to withdraw a guilty plea, a defendant must show a
“fair and just reason” why he should be allowed
to do so. Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(d)(2)(B). When considering
whether to allow a defendant to withdraw a guilty plea,
district courts consider a number of factors:
(1) the amount of time that elapsed between the plea and the
motion to withdraw it; (2) the presence (or absence) of a
valid reason for the failure to move for withdrawal earlier
in the proceedings; (3) whether the defendant has asserted or
maintained his innocence; (4) the circumstances underlying
the entry of the guilty plea; (5) the defendant's nature
and background; (6) the degree to which the defendant has had
prior experience with the criminal justice system; and (7)
potential prejudice to the government if the motion to
withdraw is granted.
United States v. Willett, No. 15-6350, 2017 WL
927786, at *3 (6th Cir. Mar. 8, 2017) (quoting United
States v. Bashara, 27 F.3d 1174, 1181 (6th Cir. 1994)).
considering these factors, the Court will deny Harris's
motion to withdraw his guilty plea. With this motion, Harris
does not assert that he is innocent of the charge. Instead,
he continues to argue that his constitutional rights were
violated when the officers searched his residence and
arrested him. Harris will have an opportunity to appeal this
Court's ruling on his motion to suppress. That is the
appropriate manner of objecting to the Court's
suppression ruling; a trial on the underlying charge is not.
has had ample experience with the criminal justice system,
having been previously convicted of felonies including murder
and drug trafficking. (DE 3, Notice.) Thus, Harris would have
understood the consequences of his actions when he pleaded
guilty. Further, in accepting Harris's guilty plea, the
Court conducted the colloquy under Federal Rule of Criminal
Procedure 11 to ensure that the guilty plea was entered
knowingly and voluntarily. As part of the colloquy, the Court
informed Harris that he had a right to a jury trial,
including the right to confront witnesses against him, and
also informed him that he waived these rights if he pleaded
guilty to the charge. The Court is satisfied that Harris
understood the charge against him and the consequences of
these reasons, the Court cannot find any “fair and just
reason” for permitting Harris to withdraw his guilty
plea. Accordingly, his motion to withdraw his guilty plea
will be denied.
also moves pro se for leave to file an interlocutory appeal.
The Court assumes that Harris wishes to appeal the
Court's denial of the motion to suppress. The Court will
deny this motion. “It is well-settled that a criminal
defendant cannot take an immediate appeal from an order
denying a pretrial motion to suppress evidence.”
United States v. Shameizadeh, 41 F.3d 266, 267 (6th
Cir. 1994). “Rather, such an order can be appealed only
after the entry of final judgment in the action.”
Id. Harris may appeal this Court's ruling on the
motion to suppress after sentencing.
also moves the Court to remove Pamela Ledgewood as his
counsel. It is not clear whether Harris requests to represent
himself at sentencing or whether he requests that the Court
appoint new counsel to represent him. The ...