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United States v. Windham

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

March 31, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
CHRISTOPHER WINDHAM

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

          KEITH F. GIBLIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         By order of the District Court, this matter was referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for administration of a guilty plea and allocution under Rules 11 and 32 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. 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), cert. denied, 123 S.Ct. 1642 (2003). On February 28, 2017, this cause came before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for entry of a guilty plea by the defendant, Christopher Windham, on Count One of the charging Indictment filed in this cause.

         Count One of the Indictment charges that on or about July 13, 2014, through on or about January 2, 2015, in the Eastern District of Texas, and elsewhere, Christopher Windham, defendant, herein, did knowingly receive and distribute child pornography, as defined in Title 18, United States Code, § 2256(8)(A), that has been mailed, shipped, and transported in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2252A(a)(2)(A).

         Defendant, Christopher Windham, entered a plea of guilty to Count One of the Indictment into the record at the hearing.

         After conducting the proceeding in the form and manner prescribed by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 the Court finds:

a. That Defendant, after consultation with counsel of record, has knowingly, freely and voluntarily consented to the administration of the guilty plea in this cause 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 Defendant and the Government have entered into a plea agreement and a plea agreement addendum which were addressed in open court and entered into the record.
c. That Defendant is fully competent and capable of entering an informed plea, that Defendant is aware of the nature of the charges and the consequences of the plea, and that the plea of guilty is a knowing, voluntary and freely made plea. Upon addressing the Defendant personally in open court, the Court determines that Defendant's plea is voluntary and did not result from force, threats or promises. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(b)(2).
d. That Defendant's knowing, voluntary and freely made plea is supported by an independent factual basis establishing each of the essential elements of the offense and Defendant realizes that his conduct falls within the definition of the crimes charged under 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(2)(A).

         STATEMENT OF REASONS

         As factual support for Defendant's guilty plea, the Government presented a factual basis. See Factual Basis. In support, the Government and Defendant stipulated that if this case were to proceed to trial the Government would prove beyond a reasonable doubt, through the sworn testimony of witnesses, including expert witnesses, as well as through admissible exhibits, each and every essential element of the crime charged in Count One of the Indictment. The Government would also prove that the defendant is one and the same person charged in the Indictment and that the events described in Indictment occurred in the Eastern District of Texas and elsewhere. The Court incorporates the proffer of evidence described in detail in the factual basis and stipulation in support of the guilty plea.

         Defendant, Christopher Windham, agreed with and stipulated to the evidence presented in the factual basis. Counsel for Defendant and the Government attested to 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 he was entering his 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 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 charging Indictment on file in this criminal proceeding. The Court also recommends that the District Court accept the plea agreement and plea agreement addendum pursuant to the Local Rules for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c). Accordingly, it is ...


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