Crawford v. U.S., No. 74-1008

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore WINTER, CRAVEN and RUSSELL; WINTER
Citation519 F.2d 347
PartiesStanley Eugene CRAWFORD, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 74-1008
Decision Date15 July 1975

Page 347

519 F.2d 347
Stanley Eugene CRAWFORD, Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
No. 74-1008.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fourth Circuit.
Argued March 6, 1975.
Decided July 15, 1975.

Page 348

Thomas B. Anderson, Jr. (court-appointed) Durham, N. C. (Loflin, Anderson & Loflin, Durham, N. C., on brief) for appellant.

N. Carlton Tilley, Jr., U. S. Atty. (V. Edward Jennings, Jr., Asst. U. S. Atty., on brief) for appellee.

Before WINTER, CRAVEN and RUSSELL, Circuit Judges.

WINTER, Circuit Judge:

Stanley Eugene Crawford appeals from the summary denial of his motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. He sought to strike out his convictions upon his pleas of guilty to two charges of violating subsections (d) and (e) of 18 U.S.C. § 2113

Page 349

(armed bank robbery and kidnapping in perpetration of bank robbery) on the grounds that (a) his pleas of guilty were not knowingly and understandingly made, and (b) he had been improperly sentenced upon both counts of the indictment because § 2113 states a single offense, with various degrees of aggravation, permitting a sentence of increasing severity, but not multiple sentences. 1

We conclude that the district court was correct in its summary denial of Crawford's motion to strike his sentence and that Crawford was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing. We also conclude that Crawford's sentence for violating 18 U.S.C. § 2113(d) should not be stricken. In our view, he committed two separate crimes, each of which warranted separate punishment. His conviction for commission of the less aggravated crime did not merge into his conviction for commission of the more aggravated one. We therefore affirm.

I.

Crawford's attacks on the voluntariness of his plea were set forth in his answer to the question posed in the district court's prescribed form for a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The question required a concise statement of "every ground" on which it was claimed that the sentence should be vacated and set aside. Crawford responded (sic):

Court appointed attorney lied to me, He told me to plead guilty and I would receeve a total of 20 to 30 yrs with an 4208.A2 number.

My attorney was totaly incompetent, He did not talk to me over 30 minutes Total before trial

He said if I were guilty or not guilty, I would still be found guilty & he scared me into pleading guilty with lies & threats.

I was deprived my right to a fair trial because of the incompentent of my attorny plus his lies in the plea bargaining. Santabello vs. United States

I was under medication, after recieving a severe beating, from the police & was still suffering mentally the day we went to trial.

Under these condition, petitioner was denied his right to a fair trial.

Of course, if true, these allegations, or some of them, would entitle Crawford to relief, but, by the statute itself, the district court was authorized to deny the motion if "the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief." 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See Machibroda v.

Page 350

United States, 368 U.S. 487, 82 S.Ct. 510, 7 L.Ed.2d 473 (1962). There can be no question but that Crawford's arraignment and the proceedings under Rule 11, F.R.Crim.P., are part of the "records" of the case. McCarthy v. United States, 394 U.S. 459, 467, 89 S.Ct. 1166, 1171, 22 L.Ed.2d 418 (1969), teaches that one of the reasons for requiring a district court to comply strictly with Rule 11 is to facilitate the "determination in any subsequent post-conviction proceeding based upon a claim that the plea was involuntary." 2 Accordingly, we adopt the rule that the accuracy and truth of an accused's statements at a Rule 11 proceeding in which his guilty plea is accepted are "conclusively" established by that proceeding unless and until he makes some reasonable allegation why this should not be so. Stated otherwise, we hold that a defendant should not be heard to controvert his Rule 11 statements in a subsequent § 2255 motion unless he offers a valid reason why he should be permitted to depart from the apparent truth of his earlier statement.

Thus, the district court was not required to conduct an evidentiary exploration of the truth of an allegation in a § 2255 motion which amounted to no more than a bare contradiction of statements made by Crawford when he pleaded guilty. Of course the allegations in a given case may go beyond the subjects covered in the Rule 11 inquiry; and if the accused has waived counsel at the taking of his plea, his Rule 11 statements may be less conclusive than if he had been represented. See Fontaine v. United States,411 U.S. 213, 93 S.Ct. 1461, 36 L.Ed.2d 169 (1973). In either event, an evidentiary hearing is required. But here, Crawford was represented by counsel and his allegations do not extend beyond the matters about which he was interrogated at his arraignment.

As we have noted, the files and records of the case belie Crawford's claim of incompetence of his court-appointed attorney, and his allegations about "medication" and a "severe beating" are too general to warrant hearing. Moreover, with respect to "medication," Crawford was asked at his arraignment if he was under the influence of any "drug or beverage" and he replied in the negative.

The files and records of the case also refute Crawford's present allegations that his attorney "lied" to him about the sentence he would receive, that the attorney "scared me into pleading guilty with lies and...

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130 practice notes
  • Baerga-Suárez v. United States, Civ. No. 11–1352ADC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • July 1, 2014
    ...from those earlier contradictory statements is now justified.” United States v. Butt, 731 F.2d at 80 (citing Crawford v. United States, 519 F.2d 347, 350 (4th Cir.1975) ). The Supreme Court has noted that in the context of a challenged representation, “strategic choices made after thorough ......
  • Torres–Santiago v. United States, Civil No. 09–1028 (DRD).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Puerto Rico
    • March 31, 2012
    ...from those earlier contradictory statements is now justified.” United States v. Butt, 731 F.2d at 80 (citing Crawford v. United States, 519 F.2d 347, 350 (4th Cir.1975)). Because of the wide range of tactical decisions that a criminal defense attorney may be presented with in any given tria......
  • Baerga-Suárez v. United States, Civ. No. 11–1352(ADC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • July 1, 2014
    ...from those earlier contradictory statements is now justified.” United States v. Butt, 731 F.2d at 80 (citing Crawford v. United States, 519 F.2d 347, 350 (4th Cir.1975)). The Supreme Court has noted that in the context of a challenged representation, “strategic choices made after thorough i......
  • U.S. v. Rocky Mountain Corp.., Criminal No. 5:07CR00058.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District of Virginia)
    • October 27, 2010
    ...conducted Rule 11 colloquy are always ‘palpably incredible’ and ‘patently frivolous or false,’ ” id. (citing Crawford v. United States, 519 F.2d 347, 350 (4th Cir.1975)), and the district court should dismiss them “without holding an evidentiary hearing.” Lemaster, 403 F.3d at 222. All the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
130 cases
  • Baerga-Suárez v. United States, Civ. No. 11–1352ADC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • July 1, 2014
    ...from those earlier contradictory statements is now justified.” United States v. Butt, 731 F.2d at 80 (citing Crawford v. United States, 519 F.2d 347, 350 (4th Cir.1975) ). The Supreme Court has noted that in the context of a challenged representation, “strategic choices made after thorough ......
  • Torres–Santiago v. United States, Civil No. 09–1028 (DRD).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Puerto Rico
    • March 31, 2012
    ...from those earlier contradictory statements is now justified.” United States v. Butt, 731 F.2d at 80 (citing Crawford v. United States, 519 F.2d 347, 350 (4th Cir.1975)). Because of the wide range of tactical decisions that a criminal defense attorney may be presented with in any given tria......
  • Baerga-Suárez v. United States, Civ. No. 11–1352(ADC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • July 1, 2014
    ...from those earlier contradictory statements is now justified.” United States v. Butt, 731 F.2d at 80 (citing Crawford v. United States, 519 F.2d 347, 350 (4th Cir.1975)). The Supreme Court has noted that in the context of a challenged representation, “strategic choices made after thorough i......
  • U.S. v. Rocky Mountain Corp.., Criminal No. 5:07CR00058.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District of Virginia)
    • October 27, 2010
    ...conducted Rule 11 colloquy are always ‘palpably incredible’ and ‘patently frivolous or false,’ ” id. (citing Crawford v. United States, 519 F.2d 347, 350 (4th Cir.1975)), and the district court should dismiss them “without holding an evidentiary hearing.” Lemaster, 403 F.3d at 222. All the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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