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Date: 12-26-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Dyvae Davis

Case Number: 23-4175

Judge: Before GREGORY and RUSHING, Circuit Judges, and MOTZ, Senior Circuit Judge.


Plaintiff's Attorney: Michael F. Easley
David A. Bragdon

Defendant's Attorney: Eric J. Foster

Description: PER CURIAM:

Dyvae Davis appeals his conviction following his guilty plea to possession with
intent to distribute fentanyl, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C), and possession
of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(c)(1)(A)(i), (D)(ii). On appeal, Davis argues the district court plainly erred by
accepting his guilty plea because the court did not ensure he understood each element of
the § 924(c) offense and because his plea to that offense was not supported by an adequate
factual basis. We affirm.
Because Davis did not move to withdraw his plea or otherwise object to the plea
hearing in the district court, our review is for plain error. United States v. Sanya, 774 F.3d
812, 815 (4th Cir. 2014). A guilty plea is valid if the defendant knowingly, voluntarily,
and intelligently pleads guilty “with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and
likely consequences.” United States v. Fisher, 711 F.3d 460, 464 (4th Cir. 2013) (internal
quotation marks omitted). “In evaluating the constitutional validity of a guilty plea, courts
look to the totality of the circumstances surrounding it, granting the defendant’s solemn
declaration of guilt a presumption of truthfulness.” United States v. Moussaoui, 591 F.3d
263, 278 (4th Cir. 2010) (cleaned up). Before accepting a guilty plea, the district court
must conduct a plea colloquy in which it informs the defendant of, and determines he
understands, the rights he is relinquishing by pleading guilty, the charges to which he is
pleading, and the maximum and any mandatory minimum penalties he faces. Fed. R. Crim.
P. 11(b)(1). The district court also must ensure there is a factual basis for the plea. Fed.
R. Crim. P. 11(b)(3). Any variance from the requirements of Rule 11 “is harmless error if
it does not affect substantial rights.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(h).
We discern no plain error in the district court’s acceptance of Davis’ plea. The
district court adequately ensured Davis understood the elements of the offenses to which
he had agreed to plead guilty. See United States v. DeFusco, 949 F.2d 114, 117 (4th Cir.
1991). And the Government’s factual proffer established a sufficient factual basis for the
§ 924(c) offense. See United States v. Dennis, 19 F.4th 656, 667-68 (4th Cir. 2021)
(discussing factors relevant to determining if firearm furthered drug trafficking crime).
We therefore affirm the criminal judgment.

Outcome: We therefore affirm the criminal judgment. We dispense with oral argument
because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process.


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