United States v. Cross, No. 18-3633 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Cross unlawfully obtained $516,000 by opening accounts at out-of-state banks, then opening accounts at Illinois banks. He wrote checks on the out-of-state accounts and deposited them in his Illinois accounts, knowing that there were insufficient funds to cover those checks, then withdrew the money from the Illinois banks. He was charged with five counts of bank fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1344(1). After eight months, the court allowed his appointed attorney to withdraw. While represented by another attorney, Cross entered his guilty plea. Months later, the court allowed that attorney to withdraw, appointing a third counsel. Days later, Cross filed a pro se motion to withdraw his plea, which the court struck, advising Cross that the court would entertain only motions that had been filed by counsel.
Days before his scheduled sentencing hearing, Cross nonetheless filed pro se: “Motion To Withdraw Guilty Plea,” “Motion To Terminate Counsel,” and “Motion To Dismiss Case Per A, Mauro, Violation.” At the sentencing hearing, the court gave Cross, his counsel and the government opportunities to address the motions. It denied the Motion to Terminate Counsel on the merits and denied the Motion to Dismiss because Cross had filed it pro se while represented by counsel. The court denied the Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea both on the merits and because Cross had filed it pro se while represented. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The court was within its discretion in denying the motions that were filed pro se when Cross was represented by competent counsel who had refused to file the same motions for cogent reasons.