United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division
LINEAR. READK JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter before the court is Defendant Carl Arthur Linden,
Jr.’s Objections (docket no. 105) to United States
Chief Magistrate Judge C.J. Williams’s Report and
Recommendation (docket no. 104), which recommends that the
court deny Defendant’s “Motion to Withdraw Guilty
Plea” (“Motion”) (docket no. 92).
RELEVANT PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
November 15, 2016, a grand jury returned a one-count
Indictment (docket no. 2) charging Defendant with possession
of a national firearms destructive device not registered to
possessor in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5841,
5861(d) and 5871. The Indictment also contains a forfeiture
allegation. On March 13, 2017, the government filed a
one-count Information (docket no. 57) alleging that Defendant
had possessed ammunition as an unlawful drug user in
violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(3) and 924(a)(2).
On that same date, Defendant filed a Waiver of Indictment
(docket no. 58).
March 13, 2017, Defendant entered a plea of guilty to Count 1
of the Information. See March 13, 2017 Minute Entry
(docket no. 61). Defendant appeared at the plea hearing with
his attorney, Alfred Willett. Assistant United States
Attorney Justin Lightfoot represented the government. On
March 13, 2017, Judge Williams issued a Report and
Recommendation (docket no. 62), which recommended that the
court accept Defendant’s plea of guilty. On March 14,
2017, the court accepted the March 13, 2017 Report and
Recommendation and adjudged Defendant guilty of Count I of
the Information. See Order Accepting Guilty Plea
(docket no. 65).
12, 2017, Defendant filed the Motion. On July 19, 2017, the
government filed a Resistance (docket no. 99). The Motion
came before Judge Williams for hearing on July 31, 2017.
See July 31, 2017 Minute Entry (docket no. 102). On
August 4, 2017, Judge Williams issued the Report and
Recommendation, recommending that the court deny the Motion.
On August 15, 2017, Defendant filed the Objections. The
Report and Recommendation regarding the Motion to Withdraw
Guilty Plea and the Objections are fully submitted and ready
STANDARD OF REVIEW
party files a timely objection to a magistrate judge’s
report and recommendation, a “judge of the court shall
make a de novo determination of those portions of the report
or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which
objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see
also Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(3) (“The district
judge must consider de novo any objection to the magistrate
judge’s recommendation.”); United States v.
Lothridge, 324 F.3d 599, 600 (8th Cir. 2003) (noting
that a district judge must “undertake a de novo
review of the disputed portions of a magistrate judge’s
report and recommendations”). “A judge of the
court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate
judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see also
Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(3) (“The district judge may
accept, reject, or modify the recommendation, receive further
evidence, or resubmit the matter to the magistrate judge with
instructions.”). It is reversible error for a district
court to fail to engage in a de novo review of a magistrate
judge’s report when such review is required.
Lothridge, 324 F.3d at 600. Accordingly, the court
reviews the disputed portions of the Report and
Recommendation de novo.
RELEVANT FACTUAL BACKGROUND
March 13, 2017, Defendant entered a plea of guilty to
possession of ammunition by an unlawful drug user. March 13,
2017 Minute Entry. At the hearing, Defendant testified that
he knowingly possessed ammunition between December of 2015
and January of 2016 and that he was an unlawful user of
marijuana at that time. Government Exhibit 3 (docket no.
99-4) at 10-11. Defendant also testified that he was
generally satisfied with his attorney’s representation.
Id. at 7. Defendant then testified twice that no one
had “forced or pressured or threatened [him] in any way
to get [him] to plead guilty.” Id. at 22-23,
25. Defendant also affirmed that his decision to plead guilty
was voluntary. Id. at 25.
plea hearing, the government introduced the Plea Agreement
(docket no. 64), which contains a stipulation of facts.
See Plea Agreement ¶ 7. Defendant stipulated
that, “[o]n or about December 2015 through January
2016” he “knowingly possessed ammunition”
that had “traveled in interstate commerce.”
Id. Defendant also stipulated that he had
“smoked marijuana on multiple occasions from about
December 2015 through at least January 2016.”
Id. At the plea hearing, Defendant testified that he
initialed these paragraphs of the stipulation of facts
“to indicate that the information contained in those
paragraphs [was] true and correct.” Government Exhibit
3 at 14. Defendant was released pending sentencing.
Id. at 33.
release was subsequently revoked on April 25, 2017.
See April 25, 2017 Minute Entry (docket no. 72). On
May 9, 2017, Defendant and Mr. Willett came before Judge
Williams on Mr. Willett’s Motion to Withdraw (docket
no. 74). At the hearing, Defendant testified that “Mr.
Willett asked [him] to plead guilty to something [he]
didn’t do.” Motion to Withdraw as Counsel Hearing
Transcript (docket no. 100) at 3. Judge Williams granted Mr.
Willett’s Motion to Withdraw and appointed Attorney F.
David Eastman to represent Defendant.