US v. Theresa Lancaster

Filing 920090903

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 09-4141 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. THERESA MCNEAL LANCASTER, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, at Raleigh. W. Earl Britt, Senior District Judge. (4:08-cr-00035-BR-1) Submitted: August 25, 2009 Decided: September 3, 2009 Before MOTZ, GREGORY, and AGEE, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Henry C. Su, HOWREY LLP, East Palo Alto, California, for Appellant. Anne Margaret Hayes, Assistant United States Attorney, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Theresa McNeal Lancaster pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2113(a), (d) (2006), bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2113(a), and aiding and abetting and bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2, 2113(a) (2006). The district court sentenced Lancaster to 109 Her attorney months of imprisonment and Lancaster now appeals. has filed a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), raising two issues but stating that there are no meritorious issues for appeal. Lancaster was informed of her We right to file a pro se supplemental brief but did not do so. affirm. In Lancaster's the guilty Anders plea brief, was counsel and questions voluntary whether because knowing Lancaster did not understand the charges to which she pleaded guilty. Prior to accepting a guilty plea, a trial court, through colloquy with the defendant, must inform the defendant of, and determine to which that the she is understands, offered, the nature of the charges plea any mandatory minimum penalty, the maximum possible penalty she faces, and the various rights she is relinquishing by pleading guilty. P. 11(b). Fed. R. Crim. The court also must determine whether there is a Id.; United States v. DeFusco, 949 The purpose of the Rule 11 factual basis for the plea. F.2d 114, 120 (4th Cir. 1991). 2 colloquy is to ensure that the plea of guilt is entered into knowingly and voluntarily. 55, 58 (2002). See United States v. Vonn, 535 U.S. There is a strong presumption that a defendant's guilty plea is binding and voluntary if the Rule 11 hearing was adequate. Cir. 1995). Here, the district court fully complied with the United States v. Puckett, 61 F.3d 1092, 1099 (4th requirements of Rule 11. Furthermore, Lancaster averred at the Rule 11 hearing that she fully understood the charges to which she was pleading guilty. 63, 74 (1977) "carry (finding a strong the See Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. that statements of made during a We plea have hearing presumption record and verity"). that thoroughly reviewed conclude Lancaster's post-plea assertions that she misunderstood the charges to which she pleaded guilty "fail to overcome the barrier of the sworn statements made at [her] Rule 11 hearing." Ubakanma, 215 F.3d 421, 424 (4th Cir. 2000). Counsel next argues that Lancaster's trial counsel United States v. rendered ineffective assistance at sentencing. of ineffective assistance of counsel, a To prove a claim must show defendant (1) "that counsel's performance was deficient," and (2) "that the deficient performance 466 prejudiced U.S. "the 3 668, 687 the defense." With that Strickland v. respect to Washington, first (1984). must show the prong, defendant counsel's performance fell below an objective standard of 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 plea, a defendant can show conviction prejudice only by demonstrating "a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's errors, [she] would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial." 474 U.S. 52, 59 (1985). This court may address a claim of ineffective Hill v. Lockhart, assistance on direct appeal only if the lawyer's ineffectiveness conclusively Baldovinos, appears 434 F.3d from 233, the 239 record. (4th Cir. United 2006). States We v. have thoroughly reviewed the record and conclude that it does not meet the exacting standard of Baldovinos. Accordingly, we decline to reach on direct appeal Lancaster's claim that her counsel's performance at sentencing was constitutionally ineffective. We have examined the entire record in accordance with the requirements of Anders and have found no meritorious issues for appeal. court. writing, We therefore affirm the judgment of the district This court requires that counsel inform Lancaster, in of the right to petition the Supreme Court of the United States for further review. 4 If Lancaster requests that a petition be filed, but counsel believes that such a petition would be frivolous, then counsel may move in this court for leave to withdraw from representation. Counsel's motion must We dispense state that a copy thereof was served on Lancaster. with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid in the decisional process. AFFIRMED 5

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