USA v. Joel Laird
OPINION filed: We enforce Larid's waiver and his appeal is DISMISSED, decision not for publication pursuant to local rule 206. Eugene E. Siler , Jr.; R. Guy Cole , Jr. and Raymond M. Kethledge, (authoring) Circuit Judges.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 11a0459n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
JOEL W. LAIRD,
Jul 07, 2011
LEONARD GREEN, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF
Before: SILER, COLE, and KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judges.
KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judge. Joel Laird was arrested in 2004 while possessing a loaded
firearm and several ounces of crack cocaine. He eventually pled guilty to one count of possessing
a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).
During Laird’s plea hearing, the prosecutor read the terms of Laird’s Rule 11 plea agreement
into the record. One of those terms was that Laird waived his right to appeal any sentence that was
between 60 and 84 months’ imprisonment. The district court asked Laird numerous questions about
the agreement, including whether he had negotiated it with the help of counsel. Laird said he had.
He further testified that he had signed the agreement. The court then asked Laird if he understood
the “terms as recited a moment ago by [the prosecutor].” Laird again answered yes. The court
U.S. v. Laird
accepted Laird’s plea and at a later hearing sentenced him to 80 months’ imprisonment. Laird then
filed this appeal.
Laird’s sentence is less than 84 months, so under the express terms of the plea agreement he
waived his right to file it. Laird asks us to hear his appeal nonetheless, arguing that the district court
plainly erred by not advising him during the plea hearing that he was giving up his appellate rights
and by not asking whether he understood the appellate-waiver provision. But the plea agreement’s
terms were read during the plea hearing, and Laird testified that he understood those terms. That the
prosecutor, rather than the court, read the agreement’s terms to Laird does not matter. See United
States v. Wilson, 438 F.3d 672, 674 (6th Cir. 2006). And the court’s general question as to whether
Laird understood those terms was enough; the court was not required to question Laird specifically
about the appellate-waiver provision. See United States v. Sharp, 442 F.3d 946, 950 (6th Cir. 2006).
The record is clear that Laird understood the terms of his agreement, so there was no error here at
all. See id. at 952. We therefore enforce Laird’s waiver and dismiss his appeal.
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