USA v. Keiron Ashurst
Per Curiam OPINION: the district court's judgment is AFFIRMED, decision not for publication pursuant to local rule 206. Damon J. Keith, Circuit Judge; Boyce F. Martin , Jr., Circuit Judge and Danny J. Boggs, Circuit Judge.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 12a0281n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
Mar 13, 2012
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
LEONARD GREEN, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF
Before: KEITH, MARTIN, and BOGGS, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM. Keiron Ashurst pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. On appeal, Ashurst challenges the voluntariness of his plea. For the
reasons set forth below, we affirm the district court’s judgment.
Ashurst’s plea was made pursuant to a plea agreement. The parties agreed that Ashurst was
entitled to a reduction for acceptance of responsibility, that his base offense level should be increased
by ten levels based on a total loss amount of between $120,000 and $200,000, and that he was
entitled to a four-level reduction because of his minimal role in the criminal activity. The
calculations in the presentence report were the same as those in the plea agreement, except that the
probation officer calculated the total loss amount as $238,500, resulting in an additional two-level
increase in Ashurst’s base offense level. See USSG § 2B1.1(b)(1)(G). This calculation resulted in
a total offense level of thirteen, which, when combined with Ashurst’s criminal history category of
II, yielded an advisory sentencing guidelines range of fifteen to twenty-one months of imprisonment.
At sentencing, the district court sustained Ashurst’s objection to the higher loss calculation,
reducing Ashurst’s total offense level to eleven and his sentencing guidelines range to ten to sixteen
-2months of imprisonment. Ashurst sought a non-custodial sentence, citing his limited involvement
in the conspiracy and his family responsibilities. The district court denied the request, and sentenced
Ashurst to twelve months and one day in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
After receiving his sentence, Ashurst filed a series of pro se motions seeking to set aside his
guilty plea based on claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct. The
district court denied the motions in marginal orders.
On appeal, Ashurst argues that his plea should be vacated because his counsel was ineffective
for coercing him into pleading guilty, promising that he would receive a probationary sentence,
refusing to move to withdraw his plea, and failing to advise him of the possibility of deportation as
a consequence of pleading guilty. Alternatively, Ashurst argues that the district court abused its
discretion by denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea without first holding an evidentiary
“A guilty plea can be involuntary as a result of the ineffective assistance of counsel.” United
States v. Gardner, 417 F.3d 541, 545 (6th Cir. 2005). But we will review claims of ineffective
assistance on direct appeal only in those “rare cases where the error is apparent from the existing
record.” United States v. Lopez-Medina, 461 F.3d 724, 737 (6th Cir. 2006). Such claims are
properly raised in a motion for post-conviction relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Massaro v. United
States, 538 U.S. 500, 504-05 (2003); Gardner, 417 F.3d at 545. The alleged ineffectiveness of
Ashurst’s counsel is not apparent from the existing record, which contains no evidence regarding
why counsel did not file additional motions or what advice, if any, counsel provided concerning
Ashurst’s sentencing exposure and the immigration consequences of his plea. Accordingly, we
decline to consider Ashurst’s claims of ineffective assistance of counsel on direct appeal. See LopezMedina, 461 F.3d at 737; Gardner, 417 F.3d at 545.
To the extent that Ashurst challenges the district court’s denial of his motion to withdraw his
guilty plea, his arguments are without merit. The district court could not grant Ashurst’s motion
because it was made after he was sentenced. Under Federal Rule Criminal Procedure 11(e), “[a]fter
the court imposes sentence, the defendant may not withdraw a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, and
-3the plea may be set aside only on direct appeal or collateral attack.” Accordingly, the district court
did not abuse its discretion by denying Ashurst’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea without an
We affirm the district court’s judgment.
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