US v. Richard Blue

Filing 920090831

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 09-4094 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. RICHARD GEREL BLUE, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, at Asheville. Lacy H. Thornburg, District Judge. (1:08-cr-00097-LHT-1) Submitted: August 20, 2009 Decided: August 31, 2009 Before GREGORY and AGEE, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Richard Gerel Blue, Appellant Pro Se. Amy Elizabeth Ray, Assistant United States Attorney, Asheville, North Carolina, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Richard Gerel Blue pleaded guilty to possession of ammunition after having been convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1) (2006). The district court sentenced Blue to twenty-seven months of imprisonment. se. On direct appeal, Blue has chosen to proceed pro his claims liberally, Blue asserts that his Construing counsel rendered ineffective assistance, that the district court erred in denying his request for new counsel, and that he was denied a fair trial because he did not have an opportunity to review affirm. Blue first claims that his counsel was ineffective for failing to communicate with him about his case. To prove a all the Government's evidence. Finding no error, we claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must show (1) "that the v. counsel's deficient performance was deficient," the and (2) "that Strickland respect performance 466 U.S. "the prejudiced 668, 687 defense." With that of Washington, first (1984). must show to the prong, fell defendant an counsel's performance below objective standard reasonableness." Id. at 688. In addition, "[j]udicial scrutiny Id. at of counsel's performance must be highly deferential." 689. Under the second prong of the test in the context of a following a guilty 2 plea, a defendant can show conviction prejudice only by demonstrating "a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial." U.S. 52, 59 (1985). This court may address a claim of ineffective Hill v. Lockhart, 474 assistance on direct appeal only if the lawyer's ineffectiveness conclusively Baldovinos, appears 434 F.3d on 233, the 239 record. (4th Cir. United 2006). States We v. have thoroughly reviewed the record and conclude that Blue has failed to demonstrate that ineffective assistance conclusively appears on the record and, therefore, we decline to address this claim. Blue next argues that the district court denied him a fair trial when it refused to appoint new counsel to represent him. We have thoroughly reviewed the record, however, and there is no evidence to suggest that Blue requested the appointment of substitute counsel in the district court. is without merit. Finally, Blue argues that he was denied a fair trial when he was not given access to a piece of evidence regarding the traffic stop allegedly maintained by the Government. We Therefore, this claim have thoroughly reviewed the record and conclude that this claim is also without merit. See Tollett v. Henderson, 411 U.S. 258, 267 (1973) (when defendant pleads guilty voluntarily, he waives 3 challenges to deprivations of constitutional rights occurring prior to guilty plea). Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court. legal before We dispense with oral argument because the facts and contentions the court are and adequately argument presented not in aid the the materials decisional would process. AFFIRMED 4

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