US v. Christopher Laverne Ezekiel
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 1:16-cr-00063-CCE-1 Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. .. [16-4591]
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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff - Appellee,
CHRISTOPHER LAVERNE EZEKIEL,
Defendant - Appellant.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, at
Greensboro. Catherine C. Eagles, District Judge. (1:16-cr-00063-CCE-1)
Submitted: May 8, 2017
Decided: June 2, 2017
Before GREGORY, Chief Judge, and TRAXLER and DUNCAN, Circuit Judges.
Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Robert L. McClellan, IVEY, MCCLELLAN, GATTON & SIEGMUND, LLP,
Greensboro, North Carolina, for Appellant. Ripley Rand, United States Attorney, Robert
A.J. Lang, Assistant United States Attorney, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for Appellee.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
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Christopher Laverne Ezekiel appeals his conviction after pleading guilty to
possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Ezekiel claims that the
district court erred by denying his motion to withdraw his plea. Finding no reversible error,
we affirm the district court’s judgment.
We review the denial of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea for abuse of discretion.
United States v. Nicholson, 676 F.3d 376, 383 (4th Cir. 2012). “A defendant has no
absolute right to withdraw a guilty plea, and the district court has discretion to decide
whether a fair and just reason exists upon which to grant a withdrawal.” United States v.
Bowman, 348 F.3d 408, 413 (4th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted); see Fed.
R. Crim. P. 11(d)(2)(B). “The most important consideration in resolving a motion to
withdraw a guilty plea is an evaluation of the Rule 11 colloquy at which the guilty plea
was accepted.” Nicholson, 676 F.3d 376 at 384 (internal quotation marks omitted); accord
United States v. Moore, 931 F.2d 245, 248 (4th Cir. 1991).
Having carefully reviewed the record, we conclude that Ezekiel entered his guilty
plea voluntarily and with the close assistance of competent counsel, and that the district
court was within its discretion to deny his motion to withdraw it. * Accordingly, we affirm
the judgment of the district court. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and
To the extent Ezekiel asserts a standalone claim of ineffective assistance of
counsel, he should raise that claim in a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (2012) motion. See United States
v. Baptiste, 596 F.3d 214, 216 n.1 (4th Cir. 2010).
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legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument
would not aid the decisional process.
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