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United States v. Cantos

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

September 5, 2017

United States of America
Einstin Antonio Cantos

          Anthony Nehme, Esq. Bjorn Lange, Esq. Shaun Khojayan, Esq. Suzanne Amy Spencer, Esq. Robert M. Kinsella, AUSA U.S. Marshal U.S. Probation



         I. Background

         On February 24, 2016, defendant Einstin Antonio Cantos ("Cantos") was indicted, inter alia, with False Statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a) (2) .

         Defendant's arraignment and change of plea hearing was held on September 1, 2017. Cantos was present, represented by retained counsel, Anthony Nehme.[1] Defendant was advised of the purpose of the hearing and placed under oath with instructions that his answers must be truthful lest he would subject himself to possible charges of perjury or making a false statement.

         II. Consent to Proceed Before a Magistrate Judge

         Defendant filed a written consent to have the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 proceedings before the magistrate judge. (Doc. no. 12). On September 1, 2017, while assisted by counsel, the defendant, by consent appeared before me in order to enter a plea of guilty as to Count I of the Indictment as agreed to under the terms of his plea agreement. At the September 1 hearing, the parties consented to the delegation of the taking of his guilty plea to the magistrate judge and the Defendant unequivocally restated his consent to have the plea hearing before this magistrate judge. United States v. Williams, 23 F.3d 629 (2nd. Cir. 1994), cert, denied, 513 U.S. 1045 (1994) (where defendant consented to the magistrate judge taking his guilty plea to a felony, delegation to the magistrate judge did not contravene Article III of the Unites States Constitution). Cantos verified his signature on the consent to proceed (Doc. no. 12).

         III. Proceedings Under Rule 11 of the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure

         Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure governs the acceptance of guilty pleas to federal criminal violations.

         Pursuant to Rule 11, in order for a plea of guilty to constitute a valid waiver of the defendant's right to trial, the guilty plea must be knowing and voluntary. United States v. Hernandez-Wilson, 186 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 1999). "Rule 11 was intended to ensure that a defendant who pleads guilty does so with an 'understanding of the nature of the charge and consequences of his plea.'" United States v. Cotal-Crespo, 47 F.3d 1, 4 (1st Cir. 1995) (quoting McCarthy v. United States, 394 U.S. 459, 467 (1969)). There are three core concerns in a Rule 11 proceeding: "1) absence of coercion; 2) understanding of the charges; and 3) knowledge of the consequences of the guilty plea." Cotal-Crespo, 47 F.3d at 4 (citing United States v. Allard, 926 F.2d 1237, 1244 (1st Cir. 1991)).

         A. Competence to Enter a Guilty Plea

         This magistrate judge questioned the defendant about his age; education; literacy; history of any treatment for mental illness or addiction; and use of any medication, drugs, or alcohol in order to ascertain his capacity to understand, answer, and comprehend the change of plea colloquy. The court confirmed that the defendant received the Indictment and fully discussed the charge with his attorney. The defendant confirmed that he was satisfied with the representation and advice given to him by his attorney and that he had sufficient time to discuss the case and guilty plea with his counsel before the September 1, 2017 hearing. The court further inquired whether the Defendant's counsel had any doubt as to his capacity to plead, to which counsel responded that there was no doubt. After considering the defendant's responses and observing his demeanor, a finding was made that Cantos was competent to plead and fully aware of the purpose of the hearing.

         B. Factual Basis for the Guilty Plea

         The defendant confirmed receipt of a copy of the Indictment and was provided with an explanation of the elements of the offense charged therein and which explained what the prosecution must provide beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. At the hearing, the government presented to this magistrate judge and to the defendant a summary of the facts the government would be able to prove, in the event the defendant elected to go to trial, to establish the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant acknowledged that the facts ...

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