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United States v. Grimes

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

January 7, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
CRAIG A. GRIMES, Appellant

Argued November 13, 2013

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No. 12-cr-00019) District Judge: Honorable Yvette Kane

Stephen R. Cerutti, II [Argued] Joseph J. Terz Office of United States Attorney Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellee

Peter Goldberger [Argued] Attorneys for Defendant-Appellant

Before: HARDIMAN, SHWARTZ, and SCIRICA Circuit Judges.

OPINION

HARDIMAN, Circuit Judge.

In United States v. Khattak, 273 F.3d 557 (3d Cir. 2001), we upheld the validity of a defendant's waiver of appellate rights following his guilty plea. This appeal presents the novel question of whether a waiver of certain post-conviction rights nullifies an appellate waiver. We hold that it does not.

I

In January 2012, Craig A. Grimes, a former professor of materials science and engineering at Pennsylvania State University and the sole owner of three research companies, agreed to plead guilty to a three-count information charging him with: wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343; false statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001; and money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957. The charges stemmed from Grimes's fraudulent conduct involving federal science grants. In brief, Grimes secured grants for which he was ineligible, stated that he would use one grant to conduct research that never actually occurred, and used grant money for personal and non-grant-related purposes.

Grimes and his attorney signed a plea agreement in which the Government indicated that his advisory sentencing range under the United States Sentencing Guidelines would be 41 to 51 months in prison. The plea agreement also contained the following waiver of Grimes's direct and collateral appeal rights:

[T]he defendant knowingly and voluntarily waives the right to appeal any conviction and sentence imposed by the Court . . . provided that the sentence is below or within the guideline range determined by the Court. The Defendant also knowingly and voluntarily waives the Defendant's right to challenge his guilty plea, conviction or sentence, or the manner in which the sentence was determined in any collateral proceeding, including but not limited to a motion brought under Title 28, United States Code, Section 2255.

Above Grimes's signature on the last page of the agreement was an acknowledgement stating that he had read the agreement, carefully reviewed it with his attorney, understood it, and voluntarily agreed to it. Above his attorney's signature was an acknowledgement that she too had carefully reviewed every part of the agreement with her client and that, to her knowledge, Grimes's decision to enter into it was informed and voluntary.

In February 2012, Grimes pleaded guilty before United States Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson.[1] During his plea colloquy, Grimes confirmed under oath that he was 56 years old, had a Ph.D., and was satisfied with the representation his counsel had provided. He stated that he understood the charges against him, as well as his rights and his potential defenses. He waived his right to an indictment and to a jury trial. Grimes also represented that he had voluntarily signed the plea agreement and had enough time to review it with his attorney before signing it. Finally, Grimes stated that no one had pressured him to sign the agreement, said he was signing it of his own free will, and acknowledged that no one could ...


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