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Goodall v. United States

September 28, 2000

CARLOS GOODALL, APPELLANT,
V.
UNITED STATES, APPELLEE.



Before Wagner, Chief Judge, and Steadman and Farrell, Associate Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam

As modified October 19, 2000.

CARLOS GOODALL, APPELLANT,
V.
UNITED STATES, APPELLEE.

Thomas T. Heslep, appointed by the court, for appellant. Ayanna J. McKay, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Wilma A. Lewis, United States Attorney, and John R. Fisher, Thomas J. Tourish, Jr. and David L. Smith, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief, for appellee.

Before Wagner, Chief Judge, and Steadman and Farrell, Associate Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam

 Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

(Hon. Henry F. Greene, Trial Judge)

Argued June 27, 2000

Goodall contends that the trial court abused its discretion by denying his post-sentence motion to withdraw his guilty plea without a hearing. Primarily, he asserts that in pleading guilty to manslaughter while armed, *fn1 he was misinformed by his attorney that he would be eligible for parole once he served the five year minimum term mandated by the "while armed" statute, without regard to the actual minimum sentence imposed by the trial court. We conclude that Goodall is entitled to a hearing on this claim.

I.

In connection with the shooting death of his uncle, Goodall was indicted on November 14, 1996, on four charges: first degree premeditated murder while armed, D.C. Code §§ 22-2401, -3202 (1996); possession of a firearm during a crime of violence (PFCV), D.C. Code § 22-3204 (b); carrying a pistol without a license (CPWL), D.C. Code § 22-3204 (a); and unauthorized use of a vehicle (UUV), D.C. Code § 22-3815. A jury trial was held July 9-17, 1997. Following Goodall's directed acquittal on the first degree murder charge, the jury hung on the lesser included offense of second degree murder while armed. A mistrial was declared.

In February 1998, Goodall and the government entered into a plea agreement whereby he would plead guilty to manslaughter while armed and CPWL in return for dismissal of the other charges. The plea letter incorporating the agreement stated that Goodall understood "that this crime [armed manslaughter] carries (a) a mandatory minimum prison term of five years, which cannot be increased or decreased, and (b) a maximum prison term of up to life incarceration" (emphasis added). At the plea entry proceeding on March 9, 1998, Goodall acknowledged under oath that he had committed the murder and had no legally cognizable defense. *fn2 During the inquiry required by Super. Ct. Crim. R. 11 (c), the trial court asked whether the armed manslaughter plea included a mandatory minimum sentence, to which the prosecutor correctly replied, "Five years." See D.C. Code § 22-3202 (a)(1). Asked whether Goodall understood that fact, his attorney responded:

Yes, Your Honor. And, the Court should have before it the sentencing letter signed by all parties. And, we made certain - we made certain to specify in that sentencing letter . . . on the first page so that Mr. Goodall understands that [the] mandatory minimum prison term cannot be increased or decreased by Your Honor.

When the discussion returned to the matter of sentence, this colloquy ensued:

[COURT]: Well, [Mr. Goodall,] do you understand I haven't decided what sentence I'm going to impose yet. Do you understand that?

[APPELLANT]: All right. Yes.

[COURT]: You understand that the maximum sentence you could get in this case is up to life imprisonment. And, that I have to give you a mandatory minimum of at ...


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