USA v. Reynold Murrell
UNPUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [16-50952 Dismissed as Frivolous] Judge: EHJ, Judge: JLW, Judge: EBC. Mandate pull date is 07/26/2017 for Appellant Reynold Murrell [16-50952]
Date Filed: 07/05/2017
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
United States Court of Appeals
July 5, 2017
Lyle W. Cayce
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
REYNOLD MURRELL, also known as Rennie Murrell,
Appeals from the United States District Court
for the Western District of Texas
USDC No. 5:13-CR-846-1
Before JONES, WIENER, and CLEMENT, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM: *
In accordance with a written plea agreement, Defendant-Appellant
Reynold Murrell, aka Rennie Murrell, pleaded guilty to distributing child
pornography. He waived his appeal rights in his plea agreement, but he
contends that the waiver no longer bars his attack on his 220-month sentence
because the government breached the plea agreement.
Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not
be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH
CIR. R. 47.5.4.
Date Filed: 07/05/2017
In that agreement, the government agreed not to recommend a five-level
increase for distribution in exchange for a thing of value. Several months later,
the government objected to the presentence report by arguing in favor of the
five-level increase. However, at sentencing, Murrell’s attorney reminded the
government of that part of the plea agreement, after which the government
apologized, withdrew its objection, and agreed that a lesser increase was
specified in the agreement. The court then applied the lesser increase.
We need not decide whether Murrell adequately objected to preserve his
claim for de novo appellate review. Even if we were to apply de novo review,
we would find that the government initially breached the agreement but then
“cured its breach by withdrawing its objection and urging the application of
the lesser enhancement.” United States v. Purser, 747 F.3d 284, 294 (5th Cir.
2014); see Puckett v. United States, 556 U.S. 129, 140 (2009) (noting that a
breach is curable if the government simply forgot its commitment but was
willing to abide by the agreement when reminded). Consequently, the timely
corrected agreement did not invalidate Murrell’s waiver of his right to appeal.
Murrell’s appeal waiver is otherwise knowing and voluntary because he
was properly advised that he was giving up his right to appeal. See United
States v. Jacobs, 635 F.3d 778, 781 (5th Cir. 2011); FED. R. CRIM.
misstatements about his right to appeal, made in passing almost two years
after the plea, could have affected his decision to plead guilty or to waive his
right to appeal. See United States v. Melancon, 972 F.2d 566, 568 (5th Cir.
1992). Murrell’s appeal waiver is valid, so we need not address his challenges
to his sentence. His appeal is therefore DISMISSED. See Purser, 747 F.3d at
294-95; 5TH CIR. R. 42.2.
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