United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: MOTION TO WITHDRAW GUILTY
J. Garbis, United States District Judge.
Court has before it Defendant Yelizarov's Motion to
Vacate Guilty Plea and Appoint New Counsel [ECF No. 56] and
the materials submitted relating thereto. The motion was
filed pro se but the Defendant has since obtained counsel to
represent him regarding the matter. The Court has held a
hearing and heard evidence - including testimony - regarding
the motion, and makes findings of fact stated herein based
upon its evaluation of the evidence and the reasonable
inferences drawn therefrom.
Yelizarov is charged with committing a murder during and in
relation to a crime of violence for which he may be
prosecuted in federal court, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
924(c) and (j)(1). He was represented by appointed counsel,
Michael Edward Lawlor, Esquire.
was scheduled to begin on Monday, September 11, 2017. On the
business day before trial was to begin - Friday, September 8
- Yelizarov entered a plea of guilty to the
three months later, on December 5, 2017, Yelizarov filed the
instant motion claiming that he was “forced under
duress to take a guilty plea by Mr. Lawlor” and
asserting that Mr. Lawlor had not provided him with adequate
professional representation. Def.'s Mot. at 1, ECF No.
11(d)(2)(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
A defendant may withdraw a plea of guilty or nolo contendere:
. . . (2) after the court accepts the plea, but before it
imposes sentence if: . . . (B) the defendant can show a fair
and just reason for requesting the withdrawal.
defendant bears the burden of demonstrating a fair and just
reason for the withdrawal. United States v. Moore, 931 F.2d
245, 248 (4th Cir. 1991). In deciding whether to grant a
defendant's request to withdraw his guilty plea, the
Court considers a variety of factors, including:
“(1) whether the defendant has offered credible
evidence that his plea was not knowing or not voluntary,
(2) whether the defendant has credibly asserted his legal
(3) whether there has been a delay between the entering of
the plea and the ...