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United States v. Knight

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

October 1, 2019

United States of America Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Montay Maurice Knight Defendant-Appellant

          Submitted: May 15, 2019

          Appeal from United States District Court for the District of North Dakota - Bismarck

          Before BENTON, WOLLMAN, and GRASZ, Circuit Judges.

          PER CURIAM.

         Montay M. Knight pled guilty to transportation for illegal sexual activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2421(a) and (2), and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C), and 846. The district court[1] sentenced him to 79 months' imprisonment on each count to run concurrently. As a condition of release, it required him to comply with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act ("SORNA"). Knight appeals the SORNA registration requirements. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.

         Knight asserts the district court erred by requiring him to comply with SORNA's sex-offender-registration requirements as part of his supervised release. The government contends Knight waived his right to appeal this issue in the plea agreement. This court reviews a waiver of appellate rights, "confirm[ing] that the appeal falls within the scope of the waiver and that both the waiver and plea agreement were entered into knowingly and voluntarily." United States v. Andis, 333 F.3d 886, 889-90 (8th Cir. 2003) (en banc). "Even when these conditions are met, however," this court "will not enforce a waiver where to do so would result in a miscarriage of justice." Id. at 890.

         The plea agreement's "Waiver of Appeal" says:

Defendant and defendant's attorney acknowledge they have fully reviewed and fully discussed the record in this case and all issues that may be raised on appeal. They have fully discussed defendant's right of appeal and the consequences of waiver. Defendant has decided to waive any right of appeal, except as may be provided herein.
By signing this Plea Agreement, defendant voluntarily waives defendant's right to appeal the Court's Judgment against defendant; and, absent a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, defendant waives all rights to contest the Judgment in any post-conviction proceeding, including one pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 2255.
Defendant reserves the right to appeal from a sentence that is greater than the binding plea agreement of 79 months incarceration.
. . . .
Defendant understands and agrees this case will be over once defendant has been sentenced by the Court. Defendant agrees that it will be a breach of this agreement if defendant appeals in violation of this agreement.

(emphasis in original). The plea agreement also informed Knight that he would be required to register as a sex offender:

Through execution of this Plea Agreement, defendant acknowledges that he has been advised, and understands, that pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, a federal law, he must register as a sexual offender and keep registration current in each of the following jurisdictions: where he resides, where he is employed, and where he is a student. Defendant understands that the requirements for registration include providing his name, his residence ...

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