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United States v. Lewis

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Beaumont Division

March 15, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ANQUNETT VERNETTA LEWIS

          FINDINGS OF FACT AND RECOMMENDATION ON GUILTY PLEA BEFORE THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          Zack Hawthorn, United States Magistrate Judge

         By order of the District Court, this matter is referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for administration of the guilty plea under Rule 11. Magistrate judges have the statutory authority to conduct a felony guilty plea proceeding as an “additional duty” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(3). United States v. Bolivar-Munoz, 313 F.3d 253, 255 (5th Cir. 2002).

         On March 14, 2017, this case came before the undersigned magistrate judge for entry of a guilty plea by the Defendant, Anqunett Vernetta Lewis, to Count One of the Information. Count One alleges that from on or about February 22, 2015, until on or about November 9, 2015, in the Eastern District of Texas, Anqunett Vernetta Lewis, the Defendant, a public official, directly and indirectly did corruptly demand, seek, receive, accept, and agree to receive and accept something of value personally, in return for being induced to do an act or omit to do an act in violation of her official duty; that is, provide an inmate in the Bureau of Prisons a watch with cellular capabilities in exchange for money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(2).

         The Defendant entered a plea of guilty to Count One of the Information into the record at the hearing. After conducting the proceeding in the form and manner prescribed by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11, the undersigned finds:

a. That the Defendant, after consultation with her attorney, has knowingly, freely and voluntarily consented to the administration of the guilty plea in this case by a United States Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of Texas, subject to a final approval and imposition of sentence by the District Court.
b. That the Defendant and the Government have entered into a plea agreement which was disclosed and addressed in open court, entered into the record, and placed under seal. The Defendant verified that she understood the terms of the plea agreement, and she acknowledged that it was her signature on the plea agreement. To the extent the plea agreement contains recommendations and requests pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 11 (c)(1)(B), the court advised the Defendant that she has no right to withdraw the plea if the court does not follow the particular recommendations or requests. To the extent that any or all of the terms of the plea agreement are pursuant to Rule 11(c)(1)(A) or (C), the undersigned advised the Defendant that she will have the opportunity to withdraw her plea of guilty should the court not follow those particular terms of the plea agreement.[1]
c. That the Defendant is fully competent and capable of entering an informed plea, that the Defendant is aware of the nature of the charges and the consequences of the plea, and that the plea of guilty is made freely, knowingly, and voluntarily. Upon addressing the Defendant personally in open court, the undersigned determines that the Defendant's plea is knowing and voluntary and did not result from force, threats or promises (other than the promises set forth in the plea agreement). See Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(b)(2).
d. That the Defendant's knowing and voluntary plea is supported by an independent factual basis establishing each of the essential elements of the offense and the Defendant realizes that her conduct falls within the definition of the crime charged under 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(2).

         STATEMENT OF REASONS

         As factual support for the Defendant's guilty plea, the Government presented a factual basis. See Factual Basis and Stipulation. In support, the Government would prove that the Defendant is the same person charged in the Information, and that the events described in the Information occurred in the Eastern District of Texas. The Government would also have proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, each and every essential element of the offense as alleged in Count One of the Information through the testimony of witnesses, including expert witnesses, and admissible exhibits. In support of the Defendant's plea, the undersigned incorporates the proffer of evidence described in detail in the factual basis and stipulation filed in support of the plea agreement, and the Defendant's admissions made in open court in response to the undersigned's further inquiry into the factual basis and stipulation.

         The Defendant agreed with and stipulated to the evidence presented in the factual basis. Counsel for the Defendant and the Government attested to the Defendant's competency and capability to enter an informed plea of guilty. The Defendant agreed with the evidence presented by the Government and personally testified that she was entering the guilty plea knowingly, freely and voluntarily.

         RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         IT IS THEREFORE the recommendation of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge that the District Court accept the Guilty Plea of the Defendant, which the undersigned determines to be supported by an independent factual basis establishing each of the essential elements of the offense charged in Count One of the Information. Accordingly, it is further recommended that the District Court finally adjudge the Defendant, Anqunett Vernetta Lewis, guilty of the charged offense under 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(2).

         The District Court should defer its decision to accept or reject the plea agreement until there has been an opportunity to review the presentence report. If the plea agreement is rejected and the Defendant still persists in her guilty plea, the disposition of the case may be less favorable to the Defendant than that contemplated by the plea agreement. The Defendant is ordered to report to the United States Probation Department for the ...


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