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United States v. Ritchott

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division

September 1, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSHUA J. RITCHOTT, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KELLY K.E. MAHONEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         On August 31, 2017, the above-named Defendant, Joshua J. Ritchott, by consent (Doc. 54), appeared before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11, and entered pleas of guilty to Counts 1 and 3 of the Superseding Indictment (Doc. 29). After cautioning and examining the Defendant under oath concerning each of the subjects mentioned in Rule 11, the court determined that the guilty pleas were knowledgeable and voluntary, and the offenses charged were supported by an independent basis in fact containing each of the essential elements of the offenses. The court therefore RECOMMENDS that the pleas of guilty be accepted and the Defendant be adjudged guilty.

         At the commencement of the Rule 11 proceeding, the Defendant was placed under oath and advised that if he answered any questions falsely, he could be prosecuted for perjury or for making a false statement. He also was advised that in any such prosecution, the Government could use against him any statements he made under oath.

         The court asked a number of questions to ensure the Defendant's mental capacity to enter a plea. The Defendant stated his full name, his age, and the extent of his schooling. The court inquired into the Defendant's history of mental illness and addiction to narcotic drugs. The court further inquired into whether the Defendant was under the influence of any drug, medication, or alcoholic beverage at the time of the plea hearing. From this inquiry, the court determined that the Defendant was not suffering from any mental disability that would impair his ability to make knowing, intelligent, and voluntary pleas of guilty to the charges.

         The Defendant acknowledged that he had received a copy of the Susperseding Indictment, and he had fully discussed these charges with his attorney.

         The court determined that the Defendant was pleading guilty under a plea agreement with the Government. After confirming that a copy of the written plea agreement was in front of the Defendant and his attorney, the court determined that the Defendant understood the terms of the plea agreement. The court summarized the plea agreement[1]and made certain the Defendant understood its terms.

         The Defendant was advised also that after his pleas were accepted, he would have no right to withdraw the pleas at a later date, even if the sentence imposed was different from what the Defendant or his counsel anticipated.

         The court summarized the charges against the Defendant, and listed the elements of the crimes. The court determined that the Defendant understood each and every element of the crimes, and the Defendant's counsel confirmed that the Defendant understood each and every element of the crimes charged.

         The court elicited a full and complete factual basis for all elements of the crimes charged in each Count of the Superseding Indictment to which the Defendant was pleading guilty.

         The court advised the Defendant of the consequences of his pleas, including, for each Count, the maximum fine, the maximum term of imprisonment, and the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, and term of supervised release.

         With respect to Count 1 (conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine), the Defendant was advised that the maximum fine is $10, 000, 000.00; the maximum term of imprisonment is life; the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment is 10 years; the maximum period of supervised release is life; and the minimum period of supervised release is 5 years.

         With respect to Count 3 (possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime), the Defendant was advised that the maximum fine is $250, 000.00; the mandatory term of imprisonment is 5 years, which must run consecutive to any sentence for Count 1; and the maximum period of supervised release is 5 years.

         The Defendant also was advised that the court is obligated to impose a special assessment of $100.00 on each Count, for a total of $200, which the Defendant must pay. The Defendant also was advised of the collateral consequences of a plea of guilty. The Defendant acknowledged that he understood all of the above consequences.

         The court explained supervised release to the Defendant, and advised him that a term of supervised release would be imposed in addition to the sentence of imprisonment. The Defendant was advised that there are conditions of supervised release, and that if he were found to have violated a condition of supervised release, then his term of supervised release could be revoked and he could be required to serve in ...


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