United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on two motions (DE 57, 60) filed
by the defendant Eddie Paul Harris, who has pleaded guilty to
the being a felon in possession of a firearm, which is the
sole count against him.
Harris is represented by counsel, he filed both motions pro
se. With the first motion, Harris again seeks to withdraw his
guilty plea and, with the second, Harris appears to continue
to argue that the Court should suppress certain evidence.
following reasons, the Court will allow Harris to withdraw
his guilty plea. This means that Harris may go to trial on
the charge against him and, after the trial, may appeal this
Court's prior denial of his motion to suppress. The Court
will not, however, revisit its suppression ruling.
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 hearing on the morning of trial at which both
parties were offered the opportunity to present evidence and
hearing, Harris moved to suppress the sawed-off shotgun that
forms the basis for the charge against him and he 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 at
issue 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. He explicitly stated
that the gun described in the indictment did indeed belong to
him. The Court conducted a rearraignment and Harris pleaded
Harris filed his first pro se motion to withdraw his guilty
plea, arguing that his plea was not knowingly and voluntarily
entered into but was instead the result of “undue
influence” by his appointed counsel. The Court denied
that motion, noting that the basis for it was Harris's
continuing argument that his constitutional rights were
violated when the officers searched the residence and
arrested him. He did not recant his statement that he did
indeed possess the firearm.
has now filed a second motion to withdraw his guilty plea.
The Court will grant the motion. Harris has continually
argued that this Court wrongly denied his motion to suppress
and, thus, appears intent on appealing that ruling. While the
United States indicated at the time of Harris's plea that
he could appeal the Court's ruling, Harris did not
preserve in writing his right to appeal the ruling as
required under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure
11(a)(2). Accordingly, the Court will permit Harris
to withdraw his guilty plea.
support of his current motion, Harris argues that law
enforcement mishandled the investigation that led to his
arrest; that his appointed counsel mishandled his case; and
that the undersigned is prejudiced against him.
his argument that the law enforcement officials mishandled
the investigation, Harris continues to argue that the
officers violated his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights when
they obtained evidence and statements from him after the
search. As explained above, the Court conducted a hearing on
this issue and found the officers' conduct did not
warrant suppression of the shotgun or statements. Harris
provides the Court with no reason to revisit that ruling.
any argument that Harris's appointed counsel, Pamela
Ledgewood, has mishandled his case, the Court has observed
the hard work that Ms. Ledgewood has put into this case,
including filing objections to Harris's classification as
an Armed Career Criminal. Nevertheless, because Harris views
the relationship as unworkable, the Court will appoint Harris
Harris argues that certain statements and rulings made by the
undersigned indicate prejudice against Harris. The
undersigned assures Harris she harbors no prejudice against
him and that any rulings have been based on the law and the
facts of this particular case. To the extent that Harris
requests that the undersigned ...