Tuesday, June 11, 2019

US v. Yong, No. 17-16017 (6-7-19)(Cardone w/Berzon & Friedland). This habeas revolves around petitioner’s efforts to vacate his misdemeanor guilty plea to operating an unlawful sports betting operation.  The petitioner argued before the district court and on appeal that his guilty plea was coercive and that pervasive government misconduct made the plea involuntary.  The 9th affirms the district court’s denial of the petition.

The petitioner and others, including his son, were charged with felonies regarding illegal sports betting operations. The defendants filed a motion arguing for suppression of evidence for Fourth Amendment violations and for government misconduct.  Subsequent to the motions, but before the ruling, the petitioner and others entered a group plea. One of the stipulations was that the charges against petitioner’s son would be dropped.  Petitioner went through the rule 11 colloquy and was sentenced to five years unsupervised probation, forfeiture of certain property, and agreement to leave the United States for five years.  Two defendants pressed forward, and the district court suppressed the evidence.

The 9th reviewed the jurisprudence on pleas, group pleas, coercion, and evidence of misconduct. The 9th concluded that there could only be an involuntary plea here if, at the time of the charges, no probable cause existed to bring charges against the son. The 9th concluded there was (the grand jury indicted). The plea further was not involuntary when the petitioner knew of the allegations of misconduct, and struck a deal regardless.

The decision is here:


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