419 F.2d 1340 (9th Cir. 1969), 24722, United States v. Youpee

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Citation419 F.2d 1340
Date17 December 1969
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Darrel Dwayne YOUPEE, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket Number24722.

Page 1340

419 F.2d 1340 (9th Cir. 1969)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Darrel Dwayne YOUPEE, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 24722.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

December 17, 1969

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Jeffrey J. Scott (argued), Billings, Mont., for appellant.

Eugene A. LaLonde (argued), Asst. U.S. Atty., Otis L. Packwood, U.S. Atty., Billings, Mont., for appellee.

Before CHAMBERS and ELY, Circuit Judges, and LEVIN, [a1] District judge.

LEVIN, District Judge.

This case arose from charges filed against two men and two minors, including the Appellant Youpee, all Indians, for the alleged beating of one Benjamin Fast Horse, also an Indian. Youpee was seventeen years old at the time of his trial. A severance was granted, and Youpee and the other minor, Carson Walking Eagle, elected to be treated under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act. Single counsel was appointed to represent both the minor defendants, and it was upon his recommendation that the defendants agreed to be treated under the Juvenile Delinquency Act rather than as adult offenders.

The charges against all the defendants stemmed from occurrences at the home of Fast Horse on the night of March 26, 1969. It is not clear whether the defendants walked or broke into Fast Horse's home, but it is undisputed that Fast Horse was beaten about the face and body, including blows struck with a chain or other blunt object.

At the hearing on April 15, 1969, Youpee and Walking Eagle each pleaded guilty after having the charge read to them and being questioned by the judge regarding their knowledge of their acts and the possible consequences of their pleas. The judge thereupon committed Youpee to the custody of the United States Attorney General for purposes of observation and study for 60 days, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 5034.

At the hearing to determine the nature of the sentence, held on July 10, 1969, Youpee was represented by new counsel who moved to withdraw Youpee's earlier plea of guilty pursuant to F.R.Crim.P. Rule 32(d). Counsel elicited the following from Youpee on direct examination:

'Q. Why did you enter that plea of guilty or admission to the charge?

A. Because the attorney I had before said there wasn't any use trying to fight it.'

The judge thereupon questioned Youpee and had re-read to him the minutes of the first hearing wherein Youpee had admitted the charge against him and had said that no promises or coercion had been used to make him plead as he did. The judge then concluded:

'If the defendant had not been represented by counsel at the time of arraignment, there would be no question of my willingness to grant a motion to withdraw a plea. However, not only was he represented by counsel from the outset, he also in open court and prior to my accepting his admission of juvenile delinquency, did in fact state that the reason he was admitting it was not because of a promise or a threat, but because he did in fact commit the offense alleged in the information.'

The court denied the motion to withdraw the plea of guilty and sentenced Youpee to be committed to the custody of the United States Attorney General for the balance of his minority, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 5034 (Juvenile Delinquency Act). This sentence was for a length permissible under the Juvenile Delinquency Act.

Youpee alleges the following specifications of error on appeal:

I. That the district court abused its discretion in denying Youpee's motion to withdraw his earlier plea of guilty.

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II. That the district court failed to comply with the requirements of F.R.Crim.P. Rule 11.

III. That Youpee was prejudiced by not having separate counsel at the time he entered his plea of guilty.


F.R.Crim.P. Rule 32(d) provides for the withdrawal of a plea (of guilty) before sentence has been imposed, but such withdrawal can be made thereafter only to correct 'manifest injustice.' The roots of this rule are in justice and the concept of estoppel; the government will generally have suffered little harm prior to sentencing and thus withdrawal of a plea of guilty should be liberally granted before final sentencing. See Zaffarano v. United States, 330 F.2d 114, 115 (9th Cir. 1964) cert. den. 379 U.S. 825, 85 S.Ct. 52, 13 L.Ed.2d 35 (1964); 8A Moore's Federal Practice #32.07(2) at 32-52.

Before the imposition of sentence withdrawal of a plea of guilty 'should be freely allowed.' Kadwell v. United States, 315 F.2d 667, 670 (9th Cir. 1963).

After the imposition of sentence, however, the standard for withdrawal changes, and withdrawal after this point will only be granted to correct 'manifest injustice.' F.R.Crim.P. Rule 32(d); Kadwell v. United States, supra. In the instant case, the motion to withdraw was not made until after the court had committed Youpee for a period of observation in order to better determine the precise nature of his sentence. There was no question that Youpee was to be sentenced; the only question was the form Youpee's sentence was to take. Were the rule otherwise, judges might refrain from utilizing the salutary study period offered under 18 U.S.C. § 5034 lest juvenile defendants sentenced thereunder later moved the court to withdraw pleas voluntarily entered earlier.

In any event, whether made before or after sentencing, the granting of a motion to withdraw a plea of guilty is within the sound discretion of the court. United States v. Stayton, 408 F.2d 559, 561 (3d Cir. 1969); Zaffarano v. United States, supra, 330 F.2d at 115. It is well settled that the defendant has no 'right' to withdraw a plea under Rule 32(d). Stayton, supra, 408 F.2d at 561; Sherman v. United States, 383 F.2d 837, 840 (9th Cir. 1967); Callaway v. United States, 367 F.2d 140, 142 (10th Cir. 1966); Everett v. United States, 119 U.S.App.D.C. 60, 336 F.2d 979, 983 (1964); Vasquez v. United States, 279 F.2d 34, 37 (9th Cir. 1960).

The standard on review in this court, therefore, is limited to a determination of whether or not the district court judge 'abused his discretion' in denying the motion to withdraw the plea of guilty. See Sherman, supra, 383 F.2d at 840:

'But (the 'freely allowed' rule of) Kadwell does not eliminate discretion in the District Court. The standard on review of a presentence ruling denying such a motion continues to be abuse of discretion.'

The court added another factor in Zaffarano, supra, 330 F.2d at 115, when it said:

'The trial court has a wide discretion in passing on such a motion and the reviewing court will not disturb the trial court's ruling in the absence of an abuse of that discretion * * * particularly when, as here, the defendant did not allege his innocence of the offense charged.'

A reading of the record before us leaves no doubt that the District Court was acting well within its discretion in denying Youpee's motion to withdraw his plea of guilty. Youpee was represented by counsel at all times pertinent, he never alleged his innocence of the offense charged, and the judge took great care when Youpee first entered his plea to see that Youpee understood the nature and consequences of such a plea.

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F.R.Crim.P. Rule 11 precludes a judge from accepting a defendant's plea of guilty without 'first addressing the defendant personally and determining that the plea is made voluntarily with understanding of the nature of the charge and the consequences of the plea.' Following the opinion of this court in Heiden v. United States, 353 F.2d 53, 55 (9th Cir. 1965), the Supreme Court of the United States has recently announced that Rule 11 is mandatory and that non-compliance with it requires that a plea entered thereunder be set aside and that the case be remanded in order to permit the defendant to plead anew. McCarthy v. United States, 394 U.S. 459, 463-464, 89 S.Ct. 1166, 22 L.Ed.2d 418 (1969). 1

In order to comply with Rule 11, it is the duty of the court, and not of defendant's counsel, to see that the pertinent inquiry is made. Durant v. United States, 410 F.2d 689, 692-693 (1st Cir. 1969). The court need not, however, follow any particular ritual in making its inquiry. Munich v. United States, 337 F.2d 356, 359 (9th Cir. 1964)...

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