232 F.3d 399 (4th Cir. 2000), 99-4599, United States v. Brown

Docket Nº:99-4599.
Citation:232 F.3d 399
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. WILLIE EDWARD BROWN, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:November 16, 2000
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Page 399

232 F.3d 399 (4th Cir. 2000)



WILLIE EDWARD BROWN, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 99-4599.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

November 16, 2000

Argued: September 26, 2000.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of North Carolina, at Raleigh.

Malcolm J. Howard, District Judge. (CR-98-174)

Page 400

COUNSEL ARGUED: Christopher Ford Cowan, COWAN, NORTH & LAFRATTA, L.L.P., Richmond, Virginia, for Appellant. Anne Margaret Hayes, Assistant United States Attorney, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee. ON BRIEF: Janice McKenzie Cole, United States Attorney, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.

Before WILKINSON, Chief Judge, and MOTZ and KING, Circuit Judges.

Page 401

Dismissed by published opinion. Judge Motz wrote the opinion, in which Chief Judge Wilkinson and Judge King joined.



Willie Edward Brown seeks to appeal the sentence imposed upon him pursuant to his guilty plea. Specifically, Brown seeks to challenge the district court's enhancement of his sentence based on his status as a career offender. The government has moved to dismiss on the ground that Brown waived his right to appeal his sentence in his plea agreement. In the alternative, the government argues that Brown was properly sentenced as a career offender. Because we conclude that Brown has waived his right to appeal, we dismiss the appeal.


After Brown stabbed a man at the Fort Bragg Military Reservation with a Samurai-style sword, he pled guilty to a single count of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 113(a)(3) (Supp. IV 1998). Brown and the government memorialized their plea agreement in a four-page document. Paragraph 2b of that agreement, which appears on the first page, contains a provision stating that Brown agrees:

To waive knowingly and expressly the right to appeal what ever sentence is imposed on any ground, including any appeal pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3742, and further to waive any right to contest the conviction or the sentence in any post-conviction proceeding, including any proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, excepting an appeal or motion based upon grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel or prosecutorial misconduct not known to the Defendant at the time of the Defendant's guilty plea.

Paragraph 3b of the agreement, which appears on page three, provides in pertinent part that the "Defendant [Brown] understands . . . [t]hat sentencing will be in accordance with the United States Sentencing Guidelines, that any sentence imposed will be without parole, and that the Court may depart from those guidelines under some circumstances."

During the plea colloquy, the district court advised Brown of the consequences of pleading guilty and questioned Brown to ensure that the plea was both knowing and voluntary. Before accepting Brown's plea, the court also reviewed the contents of the plea agreement with him. As part of this process, the court advised Brown that he was waiving the right to appeal his sentence:

The Court: Now, I have been handed a document entitled "Memoranda of Plea Agreement in your Case." It's got four pages, and it appears to have your signature and that of Mr. Parker and Mr. Bockin, the Special Assistant U. S. Attor ney. And I ask you, did you have an opportu nity to read and to discuss this plea agreement with your lawyer, Mr. Parker, before you signed it?

Defendant: Yes, sir.

The Court: And does this plea agreement represent in its entirety your agreements with the United States?

Defendant: Yes, sir.

The Court: Did you understand all the terms in this plea agreement, the language, even any legal phrases that were in here after you talked with Mr. Parker about it?

Defendant: Yes, sir.

The Court: Has anyone made any other or different prom ise to get you to plead guilty to this charge, other than what's written in this plea agree ment?

Defendant: No, sir.

Page 402

The Court: Has anyone threatened you or tried to force you in any way to get you to plead guilty?

Defendant: No, sir.

The Court: Do you understand that this is a felony and you're going to lose certain valuable civil rights? You have to say "yes" or "no."

Defendant: Yes, sir.

The Court: And if I accept your plea today you cannot ever later withdraw your plea. Do you under stand that?

Defendant: Yes, sir.

The Court: Have you answered all of my questions truth fully?

Defendant: Yes, sir.

The Court: Now, I point out to you paragraph 2-C. You agree to waive your rights -correction, 2-B -waive your right to appeal whatever sen tence is imposed, reserving only the right to appeal based on prosecutorial misconduct or ineffective assistance of counsel. Do you understand that?

Defendant: Yes, sir.

The Court: In other words, you can't appeal as long as your sentence is in accordance with the law.

Defendant: Yes, sir.

The Court: All right. Do you need any more time to think...

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