United States

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CRIMINAL NO. 17-434 (JAG) (D.P.R. Aug. 15, 2018)





I. Procedural Background

On July 20, 2017, a grand jury returned an indictment against defendant [2] Edwin González-Rivera. ECF No. 14. The defendant has agreed to plead guilty to counts four and five of the indictment. Count four charges the defendant of illegal possession of a machine gun, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(o) and 924(a)(2). Count five charges the defendant of being a drug user in possession of a firearm and ammunition, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(3) and 924(a)(2).

II. Consent to Proceed Before a Magistrate Judge

On July 24, 2018, while assisted by counsel the defendant, by consent, appeared before the undersigned in order to change his previous not guilty plea to a plea of guilty as to counts four and five of the indictment. In open court the defendant was questioned as to the purpose of the hearing being held and was advised of: (a) the nature and purpose of the hearing; (b) the fact that all inquiries were to be conducted under oath and that it was expected that his answers would be truthful; (c) the potential consequences of lying under oath (such as a perjury charge); and (d) his right to have the change of plea proceedings presided by a district judge instead of a magistrate judge. The defendant was also explained the differences between the appointment and functions of the two. The defendant consented to proceed before the undersigned magistrate judge. III. Proceedings Under Rule 11, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

A. Rule 11(c)(1) Requirements

Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure governs the acceptance of guilty pleas to federal criminal violations. Pursuant to Rule 11, in order for a plea of guilty to constitute a valid waiver of the defendant's right to trial, guilty pleas must be knowing and voluntary: "Rule 11 was intended to ensure that a defendant who pleads guilty does so with an 'understanding of the nature of the charge and consequences of his plea.'" United States v. Cotal-Crespo, 47 F.3d 1, 4 (1st Cir. 1995) (quoting McCarthy v. United States, 394 U.S. 459, 467 (1969)). [There are three core concerns in these proceedings]: 1) absence of coercion; 2) understanding of the charges; and 3) knowledge of the consequences of the guilty plea. United States v. Cotal-Crespo, 47 F.3d at 4 (citing United States v. Allard, 926 F.2d 1237, 1244-45 (1st Cir. 1991)).

United States v. Hernández-Wilson
, 186 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 1999).

B. Admonishment of Constitutional Rights

To assure defendant's understanding and awareness of his rights, defendant was advised of his right:

1. To remain silent at trial and be presumed innocent, since it is the government who has the burden of proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

2. To testify or not to testify at trial and that no adverse inference could be made in relation to his decision not to testify.

3. To a speedy trial before a district judge and a jury, at which he would be entitled to see and cross-examine the government witnesses, present evidence on his behalf, and challenge the government's evidence.

4. To have a unanimous verdict rendered by a jury of twelve persons which would have to be convinced of defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt by means of admissible evidence.

5. To use the subpoena power of the court to compel the attendance of witnesses.

Upon listening to the defendant's responses, observing his demeanor and his speaking with his attorney, that to the best of counsel's belief defendant had fully understood his rights, it is determined that defendant is aware of his constitutional rights.

C. Consequences of Pleading Guilty

Upon advising defendant of his constitutional rights, he was further advised of the consequences of pleading guilty. Specifically, defendant was advised that by pleading guilty and upon having his guilty plea accepted by the court, he will be giving up the above rights and will be convicted solely on his statement that he is guilty.

Furthermore, the defendant was admonished of the fact that by pleading guilty he would not be allowed later on to withdraw his plea because he eventually might disagree with the sentence imposed, and that if he violates the conditions of supervised release, that privilege could be revoked and he could be required to serve an additional term of imprisonment. He was also explained that parole has been abolished.

In response to further questioning, the defendant was explained, and he understood, that if convicted of counts four and five, he will face the following penalties as to each count: a term of imprisonment of not more than ten (10) years, a fine not to exceed $250,000.00, and a term of supervised release of not more than three (3) years.

The defendant was also explained what the supervised release term means. Defendant was also made aware that the court must impose a mandatory penalty assessment of one hundred dollars ($100) per offense pursuant Title 18, United States Code, Section 3013(a).

The defendant was advised that the ultimate sentence was a matter solely for the court to decide in its discretion and that, even if the maximum imprisonment term and fine were to be imposed upon him, he later could not withdraw his guilty plea for that reason alone. The defendant understood this.

D. Absence of Plea Agreement

There is no plea agreement in this case. The defendant was explained that the court, upon imposing sentence, is not bound by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines which are advisory. In addition, the defendant was advised that the court may impose any sentence up to the maximum possible penalty prescribed by statute. Defendant acknowledged having understood these explanations.

E. Basis in Fact

At the change of plea hearing, the defendant admitted that the following facts are true: On July 12, 2017, in Puerto Rico, [2] Edwin González-Rivera, being an unlawful user of marijuana, knowingly possessed ammunition and a machinegun, namely a Glock pistol, model 27, caliber .40, with serial number RUB-138, capable of firing automatically more than one shot by a single pull of the trigger. At the time of the offense (July 12, 2017), the defendant knew that the Glock pistol was capable of firing automatically more than one shot by a single pull of the trigger. The Glock pistol and ammunition had traveled in interstate or foreign commerce because they were not manufactured in Puerto Rico.

F. Voluntariness

The defendant accepted that no threats had been made to induce him to plead guilty and that he did not feel pressured to plead guilty.

IV. Conclusion

The defendant, by consent, has appeared before me pursuant to Rule 11, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, has entered a plea of guilty as to counts four and five of the indictment. After cautioning and examining the defendant under oath and in open court, concerning each of the subject matters mentioned in Rule 11, as described in the preceding sections, I find that defendant is competent to enter this guilty plea, is aware of the nature of the offenses charged and the maximum statutory penalties that the same carry, understands that the charges are supported by the government's evidence, has admitted to every element of the offenses charged, and has done so in an intelligent and voluntary manner with full knowledge of the consequences of his guilty plea. Therefore, I recommend that the court accept the guilty plea of the defendant and that the defendant be adjudged guilty as to counts four and five of the indictment.

Any objections to this report and recommendation must be specific and must be filed with the Clerk of Court within fourteen (14) days of its receipt. Failure to timely file specific objections to the report and recommendation is a waiver of the right to review by the district court. United States v. Valencia-Copete, 792 F.2d 4 (1st Cir. 1986).


In San Juan, Puerto Rico, this 15th day of August, 2018.

s/ Marcos E. López


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