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United States v. Debamaka

filed*fn*: May 6, 1993.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
NOBLE DEBAMAKA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. CR-90-0919-RSWL-2. Ronald S.W. Lew, District Judge, Presiding

Before: Kozinski, Suhrheinrich**fn** and T.g. Nelson, Circuit Judges.

MEMORANDUM

Noble Debamaka pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to distribute heroin, 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), and conspiracy to import and importation of heroin, 21 U.S.C. §§ 952(a), 960(a)(1). He now claims that there was no reasonable suspicion for his detention or for the x-ray and strip search of him; that there wasn't probable cause for his arrest; that he didn't consent to the x-ray; and that his arrest and search were the product of racial bias.

We don't address the merits of any of these claims. Debamaka pleaded guilty in open court; the court conducted an extended colloquy with Debamaka, ensuring his plea was knowing and voluntary. RT 2/12/91 at 4-18. "[A] guilty plea represents a break in the chain of events which has preceded it in the criminal process. When a criminal defendant has solemnly admitted in open court that he is in fact guilty of the offense with which he is charged, he may not thereafter raise independent claims relating to the deprivation of constitutional rights that occurred prior to the entry of the guilty plea." Tollett v. Henderson, 411 U.S. 258, 267 (1973). A defendant wishing to preserve any points of law for appeal must enter a conditional guilty plea pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(a)(2).

The rule in Tollett does not, of course, apply to claims of errors in sentencing after the guilty plea. Thus we reach Debamaka's claim that he was improperly denied credit for substantial assistance, but we reject it on the merits: The court did give him credit for substantial assistance. The court reduced his offense level category from 30 to 28, and sentenced him to 87 months, at the low end of his Guidelines range. RT 7/22/91 at 11.*fn1

Finally, Debamaka claims he was denied effective assistance of counsel. "The customary procedure in this Circuit for challenging the effectiveness of defense counsel in a federal criminal trial is by collateral attack on the conviction under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and this Court has been chary of analyzing insufficiency of counsel claims on direct appeal." United States v. Schaflander, 743 F.2d 714, 717 (9th Cir. 1984) (per curiam) (citation omitted), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1058 (1985). We can't divine whether Debamaka's claims in this regard have any merit, as no record has been developed. We therefore decline to review the ineffective assistance claims on direct review. See, e.g., United States v. Simas, 937 F.2d 459, 463 (9th Cir. 1991); United States v. Houtchens, 926 F.2d 824, 828 (9th Cir. 1991).

AFFIRMED

Disposition

AFFIRM ...


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