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WILLIAMS v. UNITED STATES

February 22, 1977

Arthur WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES of America, Respondent



The opinion of the court was delivered by: STERN

 Petitioner Arthur Williams seeks relief from his conviction and sentence for bank robbery. Petitioner was indicted for bank robbery on February 28, 1975. The indictment arose out of the robbery of the First State Bank of Hudson County in Jersey City on November 30, 1974. The first count of the indictment charged that petitioner knowingly and wilfully took, by force, violence and intimidation, some five thousand dollars from the custody of the bank, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). The second count of the indictment charged that petitioner, during the commission of the offense described in Count One, knowingly and wilfully placed the lives of the employees in jeopardy through the use of a hand gun, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 2113(d). Although the indictment was assigned to this Court for trial on February 28, 1975, the case was placed on the inactive list on March 27, 1975 because petitioner was a fugitive. In late October petitioner was arrested on other charges by the South Carolina State Police. An Order of Removal was filed on October 29. The petitioner was subsequently returned to this District to stand trial on the bank robbery indictment. He was arraigned on November 13, 1975. Counsel was appointed to represent him and a plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf on November 24. A peremptory trial date of January 5, 1976 was set at that time.

 In mid-December petitioner notified the Court by counsel that he wished to retract his previously entered plea of not guilty to Count One of the indictment, pursuant to a plea agreement reached with the United States. Under the terms of the agreement the United States agreed to move the dismissal of Count Two and to make no sentencing recommendation to the Court. This charging concession by the United States reduced petitioner's maximum potential sentence exposure from 25 years and a $10,000 fine to 20 years and a $5,000 fine. After making inquiry into the voluntary and knowing nature of the proposed waiver of rights, this Court inquired into the factual basis for the proffered plea of guilty:

 
Q. [THE COURT] All right. Now, Count 1 of this indictment charges that on or about November 30, 1974, at Jersey City, you knowingly and wilfully and by force and violence did take from the person and presence of employees of the First State Bank of Hudson County at 32 Journal Square, Jersey City, New Jersey, approximately $5,750 belonging to and in the care and custody of that bank, the bank being insured by the Federal Government. Did you do that?
 
A. [THE DEFENDANT] Yes, sir.
 
Q. What did you do?
 
A. Because I was, you know, using drugs at the time.
 
Q. I said "What did you do?"
 
A. What do you mean what did I do?
 
Q. Did you go in to the bank that day?
 
A. Yes, sir.
 
Q. What did you do in the bank?
 
A. I went in there and got the money.
 
Q. How did you get the money?
 
A. With a note.
 
Q. In other words, you stole some money?
 
A. Yes, sir.
 
THE COURT: All right. The government is satisfied that there is a sufficient factual basis for the entry of this plea?
 
MR. MATTHEWS: [ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY] Your Honor, it should be established, I believe, that there was ...

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