United States v. Seng Chen Yong, No. 17-16017 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
A guilty plea made in exchange for leniency to a third party is involuntarily made if the government lacked probable cause to prosecute the third party at the time of the guilty plea. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a 28 U.S.C. 255 motion to vacate defendant's guilty plea and set aside his misdemeanor conviction stemming from the operation of an unlawful sports betting operation. The panel held that the Government had probable cause to prosecute defendant's son at the time of defendant's plea, and therefore rejected defendant's claim that defendant's guilty plea was involuntary because it was improperly conditioned on leniency for the son. The panel also rejected defendant's claim of government misconduct and held that defendant was aware of the Government's misconduct at the time of his plea but nonetheless pleaded guilty.