Nicholas Young, Sr. v. Ricky Spinner, Warden

Case: 16-30516 Document: 00514176275 Page: 1 Date Filed: 09/29/2017 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit No. 16-30516 FILED September 29, 2017 Lyle W. Cayce NICHOLAS LOYD YOUNG, SR., Clerk Petitioner - Appellant v. RICKY SPINNER, WARDEN, RIVER CORRECTIONAL CENTER, Respondent - Appellee Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana Before WIENER, HIGGINSON, and COSTA, Circuit Judges. GREGG COSTA, Circuit Judge: Nicholas Young pleaded guilty in state court to failure to register as a sex offender. Based on representations by his counsel, Young harbored a mistaken impression that by pleading he could receive a one-year sentence. But Young actually faced a sentence ranging from five to twenty years. La. Rev. Stat. § 15:542.1.4(A)(2). The trial court gave him twenty. After Louisiana courts denied Young’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, he sought a writ of habeas corpus in federal court. Even though defense counsel was ineffective in his advice about the sentence, Young is unable to show that the state court’s rejection of his claim was unreasonable because he has not shown he would have gone to trial had he known his true sentencing exposure. We therefore AFFIRM the denial of Young’s petition. Case: 16-30516 Document: 00514176275 Page: 2 Date Filed: 09/29/2017 No. 16-30516 I. Young pleaded guilty to failure to register as a sex offender after already having been convicted of the same offense. The new offense arose soon after Young’s release from prison on his first failure-to-register offense. Young registered with the local sheriff’s office the day after his release. But he failed to complete the registration process because he could not pay the required community notification fees. At his plea hearing, Young voiced some confusion. He said his attorney had explained the minimum and maximum penalties associated with the charge. But at no time during that plea hearing did the trial court state the sentencing range for the charged offense, as would have been required in federal court. See FED. R. CRIM. P. 11(b)(1). Young also acknowledged there had been no promises made to induce him to plea. This acknowledgement, however, was not without ambiguity. When the trial court initially asked whether any promises had been made to induce him to enter a plea, Young responded—according to the court transcript—“PSI, and --.” Young asserts, to the contrary, he said “Pre-Sentence Investigation plus one (1) year with no Multi-Bill,” though that is not reflected in the transcript. After the trial court repeated the question, Young claims he responded “no” because he was intimidated, scared, and confused. After the plea hearing but before sentencing, Young wrote to counsel, explaining he had understood he was to receive a one-year sentence but subsequently learned that under the statute he “face[d] a five (5) to twenty (20) year sentence at hard labor.” The letter says Young “would not have plead[ed] guilty had [he] know[n] [he] could possibly be facing twenty (20) years in prison.” Implicitly ...

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