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United States v. Bolin

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

November 7, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Joshua C. Bolin, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued October 31, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division. No. 17-cr-00018 - Richard L. Young, Judge.

          Before Flaum, Easterbrook, and Brennan, Circuit Judges.

          Flaum, Circuit Judge.

         Defendant-appellant Joshua Bolin pleaded guilty to possessing sexually explicit material involving minors, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B). After Bolin signed a plea agreement, the district court sentenced Bolin to 120 months of imprisonment and a supervised release term of 15 years. The district court did not impose a fine, but it ordered Bolin to pay the mandatory special assessment and the additional special assessment under 18 U.S.C. §§ 3013 and 3014. Bolin argues that the district court erred in imposing the $5, 000 additional special assessment under § 3014 because he is indigent. The government argues Bolin has waived this claim. We agree, and we affirm.

         I. Background

         On May 31, 2017, the government charged Bolin with possession of sexually explicit material involving minors, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(4)(B) and 2252(b)(2). At his initial appearance, Bolin submitted a financial affidavit. The court approved it and appointed him counsel under the Criminal Justice Act. See 18 U.S.C. § 3006A.

         Bolin and the government jointly filed a "Petition to Enter Guilty Plea and Plea Agreement" on February 21, 2018 informing the court that Bolin had agreed to plead guilty. The plea agreement included a section titled "Waiver of Right to Appeal," which, relevant here, had a paragraph that addressed "Direct Appeal." That paragraph stated:

The defendant understands that the defendant has a statutory right to appeal the conviction and sentence imposed and the manner in which the sentence was determined. Acknowledging this right, and in exchange for the concessions made by the Government in this Plea Agreement, the defendant expressly waives the defendant's right to appeal the conviction imposed in this case on any ground, including the right to appeal conferred by 18 U.S.C. § 3742.... This blanket waiver of appeal specifically includes all provisions of the guilty plea and sentence imposed, including the length and conditions [of] supervised release and the amount of any fine.

         At the change of plea hearing on March 14, 2018, the district court determined that Bolin was competent and capable of entering into an informed plea, and the district court adjudged Bolin guilty.

         The U.S. Probation Office filed a Presentence Investigation Report ("PSR"). The PSR explained that under the relevant statutes, Bolin faced a $250, 000 fine, and under the Guidelines, he faced a $20, 000 to $200, 000 fine. Nevertheless, the Probation Office recommended that the court not impose any fine on Bolin. Additionally, in accordance with the statutes, the Guidelines, and the plea agreement, the Probation Office recommended that the district court impose $100 for the mandatory special assessment and $5, 000 for the additional special assessment, but it did not elaborate as to its reasoning for those recommendations.

         At the sentencing hearing on May 15, 2018, the district court described Bolin as a "relatively intelligent young man," who graduated "close to the top ten in his high school class," and who is "interested in electronics." When the district court asked Bolin about his post-release plans, Bolin said he hoped to use the education he received from the Bureau of Prisons to work and have a normal life. In turn, the district court said Bolin "should take advantage of education [and] vocational training opportunities while he's at the Bureau, so when he does come out of the Bureau of Prisons, he'll be able to seek employment and become a productive member of society and be able to support himself."

         Ultimately, the district court sentenced Bolin to 120 months of imprisonment and a supervised release term of 15 years. The district court did not impose a fine given Bolin's "current financial resources and future ability to pay/' but it ordered Bolin to pay a mandatory special assessment of $100 and an additional special assessment of $5, 000. ...


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