United States District Court, N.D. Ohio
OPINION & ORDER [Resolving Doc. 33]
S. GWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
November 13, 2019, Defendant Jaron R. Kirkland pleaded guilty
to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). On December 10, 2019, Kirkland
moved to withdraw his guilty plea and for the appointment of
new counsel. He says his attorney bullied and rushed
him during his suppression hearing. He also says that his
attorney, on at least one occasion, was “very
argumentative.” The Government opposes his
January 7, 2020, hearing, the Court expressed an intent to
deny the motion to withdraw the guilty plea. After further
consideration, the Court changes its decision and will grant
the motion to withdraw Kirkland's plea. Because there
seem only a limited number of witnesses, the Court will set
the case for an early trial.
defendant may withdraw a guilty plea before sentencing if
“the defendant can show a fair and just reason for
requesting the withdrawal.” In the Sixth Circuit, a
multi- factor balancing test governs whether to grant a
motion to withdraw a guilty plea. The factors to be considered
(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.
most factors favor denying the motion to withdraw the plea.
Regarding the first two, Defendant waited nearly one month
before moving to withdraw, and he does not account for the
delay. A one-month delay is not a significant delay.
the third factor, Kirkland has not maintained his innocence;
indeed, his motion to withdraw does not mention
innocence. And suppression hearing testimony makes
any Kirkland innocence claim difficult. Police testified they
saw Kirkland throw a loaded firearm Both Kirkland and the
firearm were immediately taken into custody.
there is no credible indication that the guilty-plea
circumstances prevented Defendant from making a considered
the fifth and sixth factors, nothing in Defendant's
background suggests any reason that he could not have made an
informed and intelligent decision to plead guilty. As his
criminal history category makes clear, Defendant has
significant experience with guilty pleas and with the
criminal justice system.
seventh factor-potential prejudice to the Government if the
motion to withdraw is granted-favors Defendant. In its
opposition to Defendant's motion, the Government says
that it abandoned its trial preparations because of
Defendant's guilty plea. However, aside from this
interruption in preparation, there is no argument that the
Government's case would be prejudiced by granting the
January 7, 2019, the Court held a hearing on this matter and
orally denied Defendant's motion. Since then,
the Court has reconsidered the factors and will reverse
important, the Government faces little obvious difficulty
assembling the case for trial. Some work will be necessary,
but with a trial likely to have fewer than five witnesses,
the Government will not be prejudiced by Defendant's
Defendant may withdraw his guilty plea and may ...