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UNITED STATES v. SEYBOLD

February 22, 1995

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN A. SEYBOLD, a/k/a RICHARD O'CALLAGHAN, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, SR.

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:

 Defendant John A. Seybold has petitioned this court under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 for release from custody. He claims that he was coerced into accepting his plea agreement and that, therefore, his plea was neither voluntary nor knowledgeable. In addition, he claims that the presentence investigation conducted in his case will cause him to be "unlawfully adjudged and evaluated in a continuing manner" by the Parole Board under the sentencing guidelines.

 BACKGROUND

 On July 27, 1989, John A. Seybold was indicted for federal criminal law violations in connection with a series of jewel thefts. Seybold elected to represent himself. The record is replete with the court's warnings to Seybold about the dangers of self-representation. Over Seybold's objection, the district court appointed standby counsel to assist him. On April 17, 1990, Seybold pleaded guilty to one count in the indictment, which alleged a violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") under 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c). The Government then moved to dismiss the remaining counts. After a full hearing, conducted in accordance with Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the district court accepted Seybold's guilty plea and entered a judgment of conviction.

 The Government acknowledges that 28 U.S.C. § 2255 provides the opportunity for a collateral attack to criminal proceedings, rather than a direct appeal. "Relief will only be granted where the error is jurisdictional, constitutional, or is a 'fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice.'" Haase v. United States, 800 F.2d 123, 126 (7th Cir. 1986). Where the defendant has failed to demonstrate any such error concerning either of his contentions in his motion, his plea agreement and conviction should be upheld, and his motion denied.

 DISCUSSION

 Defendant appealed his conviction, arguing that his Sixth Amendment right to self-representation was denied by his standby counsel's interference in this case. He further claimed that he was unable to make an informed decision concerning his guilty plea because of the considerable pressure placed on him by standby counsel and because of lack of access to certain discovery materials. United States v. Seybold, 979 F.2d 582, slip op. at 2, 5, 10 (7th Cir. 1992). The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment of conviction stating, "We believe that Mr. Seybold waived his Sixth Amendment claim by pleading guilty and that his plea was both knowing and voluntary." Id. at 2 (emphasis added).

 The court agrees with the Government's position that, though § 2255 authorizes collateral attacks on criminal judgments, if the court of appeals has actually considered and rejected a claim on appeal, that decision binds the district court unless there has been an intervening change of law. Page v. United States, 884 F.2d 300 (7th Cir. 1989) (citing United States v. Mazak, 789 F.2d 580 (7th Cir. 1986)). Here, the Seventh Circuit has already considered the voluntariness of Defendant's guilty plea and affirmed the conviction. Defendant has failed to argue any intervening change in law which would warrant the district court re-examining the voluntariness of his plea. Thus, the applicable case law requires denial of Defendant's motion.

 Furthermore, the transcripts of his guilty plea clearly show that his decision to plead guilty was made with full knowledge of the consequences and was entirely voluntary. The plea bargaining process necessarily exerts pressure on defendants to plead guilty and to abandon a series of fundamental rights. However, the government "may encourage a guilty plea by offering substantial benefits in return for the plea." Corbitt v. New Jersey, 439 U.S. 212, 219, 58 L. Ed. 2d 466, 99 S. Ct. 492 (1978).

 Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 sets forth the procedure for plea agreements. It specifically "ensures a colloquy that 'exposes a defendant's state of mind in the record through personal interrogation.'" Key v. United States, 806 F.2d 133, 136 (7th Cir. 1986) (citing United States v. Fountain, 777 F.2d 351, 356 (7th Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 106 S. Ct. 1231 (1986)). A guilty plea is voluntary "when it is not induced by threats or misrepresentations and the defendant is made aware of the direct consequences of the plea." United States v. Henry, 933 F.2d 553, 558 (7th Cir. 1991), (quoting Brady v. United States, 397 U.S. 742, 755, 25 L. Ed. 2d 747, 90 S. Ct. 1463 (1970)). The record demonstrates that Seybold made emphatic statements regarding the voluntariness of his guilty plea.

 At the sentencing the following exchange took place:

 
COURT: Now, have you entered into this plea-bargain agreement voluntarily?
 
SEYBOLD: Absolutely.

 Id. at 12.

 
COURT: Now, you have brought to my attention, many, many facts that some of which are related to this incident, and some are unrelated.
 
SEYBOLD: Yes.
 
COURT: But, is this your free and voluntary act to enter into this plea-bargain agreement?

 Id. at 38.

 
COURT: Now, Mr. Seybold, before we started this hearing, you knew then, as you know now, that you have an absolute right to remain silent, is that correct?
 
SEYBOLD: Yes, sir.
 
COURT: Did you decide to make these statement ...

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