No. 21-3102.

United States of America Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Damion Stevenson Defendant-Appellant.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

Filed: May 9, 2022.


Damion Stevenson appeals the sentence the district court1 imposed after he pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, pursuant to a plea agreement containing an appeal waiver. His counsel has moved to withdraw and has filed a brief under Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), challenging the substantive reasonableness of Stevenson's sentence and the effectiveness of trial counsel.

We decline to consider Stevenson's ineffective-assistance claims on direct appeal. See United States v. Hernandez, 281 F.3d 746, 749 (8th Cir. 2002) (noting an ineffective-assistance claim is generally not cognizable on direct appeal and is properly raised in a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 action). We also conclude the appeal waiver is valid, enforceable, and applicable to Stevenson's challenge to his sentence. See United States v. Scott, 627 F.3d 702, 704 (8th Cir. 2010) (reviewing validity and applicability of appeal waiver de novo); United States v. Andis, 333 F.3d 886, 889-92 (8th Cir. 2003) (en banc) (enforcing appeal waiver if appeal falls within scope of waiver, defendant knowingly and voluntarily entered into plea agreement and waiver, and it would not result in miscarriage of justice).

Further, having independently reviewed the record under Penson v. Ohio, 488 U.S. 75 (1988), we find no nonfrivolous issues for appeal outside the scope of the appeal waiver. Accordingly, we grant counsel leave to withdraw and dismiss this appeal.


1. The Honorable Stephen R. Clark, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri.


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