Federal court properly denied bid to withdraw money-laundering plea

August 6, 2015

An Indiana federal District Court judge properly denied a woman’s motion to withdraw her money-laundering plea, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

After a grand jury in 2009 returned a multi-count indictment against her, Sandra McGuire pleaded guilty in November 2012 to a charge that she deposited $2,200 in marijuana sale proceeds in her checking account, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(b).

Her plea agreement waived her appellate rights. “After the district court accepted her guilty plea, but before McGuire was sentenced, she filed a motion to withdraw her plea. The district court denied the motion, and McGuire appeals that denial. We dismiss the appeal, because we conclude that McGuire’s waiver of appellate rights encompasses her appeal of the denial of the plea-withdrawal motion,” Circuit Judge Michael S. Kanne wrote for the panel.

McGuire, a Gary firefighter at the time of her conviction, faced maximum penalties of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, but she was sentenced to 12 months of probation. The prosecutor and defense counsel jointly asked Judge James T. Moody of the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, to allow her to withdraw the plea so she wouldn’t lose her job. The judge declined to do so and adjudicated her guilty.

“Even if the government had been unwilling to negotiate the appellate waiver provision, such a refusal would not render the provision void,” Kanne wrote in United States of America v. Sandra McGuire, 14-3545. “We conclude that the waiver of appellate rights provision is valid and enforceable.”  




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