The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in United States v. Dunbar on Monday, June 17, 2013.
Defendant appealed his cocaine distribution conviction and the revocation of supervised release. He raised four challenges: (1) that the district court conducted an inadequate inquiry into his request for new counsel and abused its discretion in denying his request; (2) that the district court abused its discretion in failing to construe his pro se pleading and various oral protests as motions to withdraw his plea; (3) that his plea was not knowing and voluntary because his counsel had given him inaccurate information; and (4) that his sentence on revocation of supervised release was procedurally and substantively unreasonable.
The Tenth Circuit held as follows: first, the district court conducted an adequate inquiry into Defendant’s request for new counsel, and did not abuse its discretion in denying the request because defense counsel’s explanation could persuade a reasonable jurist that counsel’s performance had been satisfactory and that any failures of communication had been Defendant’s fault. Second, the court did not err in declining to treat Defendant’s pro se pleading and oral statements as motions to withdraw his plea because Defendant was represented by counsel who did not make a timely motion to permit withdrawal of the plea and Defendant’s statements in any event were unclear or untimely. Third, Defendant did not raise in district court a challenge to the validity of his plea, and there was no plain error because the pertinent facts were not established in the record. And fourth, as to Defendant’s sentence on violation of the terms of supervised release, he failed to show plain error with respect to the procedural reasonableness of his sentence and his sentence was not substantively unreasonable.