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Date: 12-26-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Micheal Prince

Case Number: 23-4275

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


Plaintiff's Attorney: Benjamin Neale Garner

Defendant's Attorney: Bradley M. Kirkland

Description: PER CURIAM:

Micheal Geronald Prince pled guilty, pursuant to a written plea agreement, to
conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute various controlled substances, including—
as attributable to him through his own conduct and the conduct of other conspirators
reasonably foreseeable to him—five kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more
of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A). The district court
sentenced him to 216 months’ imprisonment. On appeal, counsel has filed a brief pursuant
to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), stating that there are no meritorious grounds
for appeal but questioning whether the district court properly calculated Prince’s criminal
history score. Prince was informed of his right to file a pro se supplemental brief, but he
has not done so. The Government moves to dismiss Prince’s appeal pursuant to the
appellate waiver in his plea agreement. We affirm in part and dismiss in part.
“We review an appellate waiver de novo to determine whether the waiver is
enforceable” and “will enforce the waiver if it is valid and if the issue being appealed falls
within the scope of the waiver.” United States v. Boutcher, 998 F.3d 603, 608 (4th Cir.
2021) (internal quotation marks omitted). An appellate waiver is valid if the defendant
enters it “knowingly and intelligently, a determination that we make by considering the
totality of the circumstances.” Id. “Generally though, if a district court questions a
defendant regarding the waiver of appellate rights during the [Fed. R. Crim. P.] 11 colloquy
and the record indicates that the defendant understood the full significance of the waiver,
the waiver is valid.” United States v. McCoy, 895 F.3d 358, 362 (4th Cir. 2018) (internal
quotation marks omitted). Our review of the record, including the plea agreement and the
transcript of the Rule 11 hearing, confirms that Prince knowingly and intelligently waived
his right to appeal his conviction and sentence, with limited exceptions not applicable here.
We therefore conclude that the waiver is valid and enforceable and that the sentencing issue
counsel raises falls squarely within the waiver’s scope.
In accordance with Anders, we have reviewed the entire record in this case and have
found no potentially meritorious grounds for appeal outside the scope of Prince’s valid
appellate waiver. We therefore grant the Government’s motion to dismiss in part and
dismiss the appeal as to all issues covered by the waiver. We deny the motion in part and
otherwise affirm.
This court requires that counsel inform Prince, in writing, of the right to petition the
Supreme Court of the United States for further review. If Prince requests that a petition be
filed, but counsel believes that such a petition would be frivolous, then counsel may move
in this court for leave to withdraw from representation. Counsel’s motion must state that
a copy thereof was served on Prince.

Outcome: 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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