United States v. Jorge Torres, Jr.

Case: 16-50364 Document: 00514318996 Page: 1 Date Filed: 01/23/2018 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT No. 16-50364 United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, January 23, 2018 Lyle W. Cayce Plaintiff – Appellee, Clerk v. JORGE LUIS TORRES, JR., Defendant – Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas USDC No. 2:13-CV-4 Before REAVLEY, ELROD, and SOUTHWICK, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM:* Jorge Luis Torres, Jr., was sentenced to serve four months in prison and a three-year term of supervised release after pleading guilty to one charge of conspiring to transport aliens. He did not appeal his sentence. Torres subsequently petitioned the district court to set aside the conviction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, arguing that his plea was involuntary because he was incompetent when he entered it and that his counsel rendered ineffective * Pursuant to Fifth Circuit Rule 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in Fifth Circuit Rule 47.5.4. Case: 16-50364 Document: 00514318996 Page: 2 Date Filed: 01/23/2018 No. 16-50364 assistance to him in connection with the entry of his guilty plea. The district court denied Torres’s § 2255 motion. We AFFIRM. I. Jorge Luis Torres, Jr., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens. Border patrol agents stopped Torres after they observed erratic driving. Agents transported Torres and his two passengers to the checkpoint station where Torres admitted that he was being paid to transport a passenger whom he knew was illegally present in the United States. Torres consented to enter his guilty plea to a magistrate judge, and his guilty plea was entered along with other defendants. 1 During his sentencing hearing, Torres told the district court that he understood the immigration consequences of this guilty plea and that he had been given an opportunity to discuss the Presentence Report with his counsel. The district court sentenced Torres to four months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. Torres did not file a direct appeal from the judgment of the conviction. About a year after his sentencing hearing, Torres filed a motion to set aside the conviction under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. First, he argued that his guilty plea was involuntary because he had a lifelong neurological condition and low IQ that made him incompetent when he entered his guilty plea. Next, he argued that his counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to investigate the issue of his incompetency or to request a competency hearing 1 We have previously opined on the problems that may occur in group plea hearings. “[A] district judge attempting to accept the pleas of dozens of defendants in disparate cases at one time may find it impossible to satisfy Rule 11.” United States v. Walker, 418 F. App’x 359, 360 (5th Cir. 2011). As we have previously observed, “we can envision dangers arising from a ...

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