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Bryant v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

October 25, 2017

CHARLIE WAYNE BRYANT, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER

          Max O. Cogburn Jr. United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Petitioner's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, (Doc. No. 1), and Motions to Appoint Counsel, (Doc. Nos. 2, 4).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner was charged with one count of assaulting a federal officer in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a)(1) and (b) by forcibly assaulting, resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating, and interfering with an officer and employee of the United States while engaged in his official duties, and inflicting bodily injury. The facts of the case, as summarized by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals are as follows:

This [case] arises from an altercation between Defendant and a security officer at the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) office in Gastonia, North Carolina. Defendant was a homeless veteran suffering from chronic mental illness. In February 2011, he went to the SSA office to inquire “about some checks that [his] deceased wife tore up in 2005, ” but the claims representative could not help him. Defendant then became belligerent, and his voice got “real, real loud.”
The on-duty security officer, Edward Seigle, approached Defendant and urged him to lower his voice and stop using profanity, but Seigle's comments further agitated Defendant. An altercation ensued, and although accounts vary as to how it started, it is clear that Defendant and Seigle ended up on the ground in the bathroom of the SSA office after Defendant “swung at” Seigle. Defendant thrashed wildly, but Seigle eventually subdued Defendant until police arrived.

United States v. Bryant, 619 Fed.Appx. 212, 213 (4th Cir. 2015) (citations omitted).

         Petitioner pled “straight up” to assaulting a federal officer which inflicted bodily injury before Magistrate Judge Cayer on December 8, 2011. (3:11-cr-72, Doc. No. 36). The Government explained the charge and sentencing exposure in open court as follows:

The count charges that on or about February 8th, 2011, in Gaston County, within the Western District of North Carolina, and elsewhere, Charlie Wayne Bryant did forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, and interfere with E.L.S., and officer and employee of the United States and of an agency and a branch of the United States government, that is, a contract protective security officer with the United States Department of Homeland Security, Federal Protective Services, while E.L.S. was engaged in, and on account of the performance of E.L.S.'s official duties, and in the commission of the offense, that Mr. Bryant did make physical contact with the victim, E.L.S., inflicting the bodily injury.
The penalty, Your Honor, is not more than 20 years' imprisonment and/or a $250, 000 fine. And that's with the enhancement.
THE COURT: Do you fully understand the charge against you, including the maximum penalty you face if convicted?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.

(Id., Doc. No. 36 at 4) (emphasis added).

         Petitioner stated that he understood the charges, spoke to counsel about the sentencing guidelines and how they might apply in his case, and understood that he might receive a sentence that is different from the one called for in the guidelines. (Id., Doc. No. 36 at 5). He specifically stated that receiving a sentence more severe than he expects will not give him the right to withdraw his plea. (Id., Doc. No. 36 at 5). Petitioner confirmed that he understood the rights he was waiving by pleading guilty, including the presumption of innocence and the right to proceed to a speedy trial with the assistance of a lawyer at which he can summon witnesses on his behalf and to confront the witnesses against him. (Id., Doc. No. 36 at 6). He stated that he is, in fact, guilty of the count in the indictment. (Id., Doc. No. 36 at 7). He further stated that nobody made any threats or promises to induce the plea:

THE COURT: Has anyone threatened, intimidated or forced you to enter a guilty plea today?
THE DEFENDANT: No, sir.
THE COURT: Has anyone made you any promises of leniency or a light sentence to induce you to plead guilty?
THE DEFENDANT: No, sir.
THE COURT: Have you had enough time to discuss with your attorney any possible defenses you may ...

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