Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Attacking Guilty Plea as Not Knowing and Intelligent May Not be Knowing and Intelligent

When an appellant successfully challenges a conviction which followed a trial, the imposition of an increased sentence after a retrial is presumed to violate the Due Process Clause of the New York State Constitution, even where the retrial is before a different judge than imposed the original sentence (People v Van Pelt, 76 NY2d 156, 158 [1990]).

There is no parallel presumption of vindictiveness when a person who successfully challenges a conviction obtained pursuant to a guilty plea is then tried, convicted, and sentenced to a longer sentence than originally imposed. Thus, appellate counsel must warn would be appellants that a successful appeal of a guilty plea might be Pyrrhic victory.

Today's news provides a clear illustration of these risks.

This past February, the Appellate Division, Fourth Department vacated Quinntarius White's conviction for depraved murder following guilty plea because the plea colloquy established that Mr. White acted intentionally and thus, the plea was not at his guilty plea was not knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently entered (People v White,70 AD3d 1343 [4th Dept 2010]). Thus. Mr. White's 15 year to life sentence was vacated.

As reported in today's Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (see) Mr. White was then tried, convicted of intentional murder and sentenced to 20 years to life.

Perhaps Mr. White's longer sentence might help others better appreciate the risks of challenging a guilty plea.

No comments:

Post a Comment