United States v. Freeman, No. 19-2432 (2d Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Defendant appealed his conviction following a guilty plea to a narcotics conspiracy charge, alleging that the district court misstated the applicable mandatory minimum term of supervised release in violation of Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment, concluding that the Rule 11 error was harmless. In this case, because both parties wrongly assume that the defendant bears the ultimate burden of persuasion to show that the Rule 11 error affected his substantial rights, the court clarified that where a defendant moved to withdraw a guilty plea before sentencing based on a Rule 11 error, it is the government's burden on appeal to show that such error was harmless. Nonetheless, the court found that plaintiff's substantial rights were not violated by the error in his plea agreement and colloquy. The court concluded that defendant's plea was knowing and voluntary and he did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel.