Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
Before BYE, HANSEN, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
Edward Gray appeals his conviction, entered upon his plea of guilty, to a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C § 922(g)(1). He asserts the district court committed reversible error by failing to inform him of the minimum and maximum sentences involved, as well as an obligation of the court to calculate the applicable Sentencing Guideline range and to consider it along with possible departures under the Sentencing Guidelines, and other sentencing factors under 18 U.S.C § 3553(a). See Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(b)(1)(H),(I), and (M). We reverse.
At the change-of-plea hearing, the district court asked Gray a series of questions so as to ensure his plea of guilty was knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. The district court then asked the Assistant United States Attorney ("AUSA") to advise Gray of the charge and the range of punishment in the case. The AUSA informed Gray of the range of punishment, stating:
[A] maximum penalty provided by law is a term of imprisonment not to exceed ten years, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both. The Court may also impose a period of supervised release of not more than three years.
In addition, however, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), if the defendant is determined to be an armed career criminal within the meaning of that provision, there is a possibility of a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment.
At no time did the court or the AUSA -- as required by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 -- inform Gray of the maximum sentence he could face if found to be an armed career criminal under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), which is life in prison, or of the court's obligation to calculate the applicable Sentencing Guidelines range and to consider such range, possible departures under the Sentencing Guidelines, and other sentencing factors under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).
After Gray entered his plea of guilty, the United States Probation Office prepared a Presentence Investigation Report ("PSI"), finding Gray was an armed career criminal.
Gray filed pro se objections to the PSI. Relevant to this appeal, he stated:
On the front page of the presentence report, under OFFENSE it lists my Count 1 as 924(e)(1) which enhances the sentence to 15 years to life, which is not what I was indicted under or pled guilty to. I was indicted under 924(a)(2). This is what is on my indictment, and what I pled guilty to. There is a significant difference in the punishment range between the two categories.
At the sentencing hearing, Gray repeatedly informed the court he was not aware of the sentencing range he faced if found to be an armed career criminal: "They told me that my charge carried one to ten; what I was indicted under. And as we said, I was pleading guilty to. That's what he told me."; "I never heard of this until the PSI came. I didn't hear of that thing. He didn't talk to me about that. Through the whole time I've been locked up ain't tell me nothing about 15 years; a career thing."; "Because when he said the time, he say one to ten."
The transcript reveals that, in response to Gray's objections, the district court judge responded dismissively towards the defendant for even lodging his objections:
THE COURT: What are you griping about now?
THE DEFENDANT: I misunderstood. I am sorry sir.
THE COURT: What are you griping now?
THE DEFENDANT: I misunderstood it. I mean --
THE COURT: No, no, no. When I asked you when you had your hand up swearing and said you understood. See, you have to give ...