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Guilty Plea

Apr 25, 2019

Court can reject guilty plea if defendant claims innocence

  Trial court judges aren’t required to accept guilty pleas from defendants who tell the court during plea hearings that they are in fact innocent, a divided North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled. Kenneth Chandler had agreed to plead guilty to one count taking indecent liberties with a child, with the state dropping a […]

Jun 13, 2018

Criminal Practice – Appellate Review – Guilty Plea – Reservation of Right – Procedural Vehicle

The Court of Appeals correctly found that it had jurisdiction to review the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion to dismiss a DWI charge; however, the Court of Appeals improperly let the lack of a procedural mechanism stand in the way of its discretionary exercise of such jurisdiction. We reverse the Court of Appeals’ dismissal […]

Feb 28, 2018

Criminal Practice – Guilty Plea – Potential Sentence – Plea Agreement – Consolidation

Holding: The trial judge erroneously told defendant that possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell a Schedule I controlled substance carried a maximum punishment of 24 months when the actual potential maximum sentence is 39 months; nevertheless, defendant’s plea agreement with the state consolidated his possession charge into his heroin trafficking charge […]

Aug 3, 2017

Criminal Practice – Guilty Plea – Stipulations – Sentencing – Prior Record Level – Conclusion of Law

State v. Arrington (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-236-17, 22 pp.) (Mark Davis, J.) (Philip Berger Jr., J., dissenting) Appealed from Buncombe County Superior Court (Alan Thornburg, J.) N.C. App. Holding: Defendant’s stipulation that he should be sentenced at Level V constituted a stipulation as to the issue of whether his 1994 conviction for second-degree murder should […]

Jan 4, 2017

Criminal Practice – Appeals – Guilty Plea – Withdrawal Motion – Fine

State v. Zubiena (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-002-17, 26 pp.) (Mark Davis, J.) (Wendy Enochs, J., dissenting) Appealed from Buncombe County Superior Court (William Coward, J.) N.C. App. Holding: Where defendant pled guilty, was sentenced, unsuccessfully moved to withdraw her guilty plea, and argues on appeal that the sentence imposed was different from that contained in […]

Jan 4, 2017

Criminal Practice – Guilty Plea – Knowing & Voluntary – Motion to Proceed – Waiver

State v. Ross (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-012-17, 11 pp.) (Cheri Beasley, J.) Appealed from Cleveland County Superior Court (James Morgan, J.) On discretionary review from the Court of Appeals. N.C. S. Ct. Holding: Although defendant contends that he filed a G.S. § 15A-711 motion to proceed that was never heard, since (1) defendant signed a […]

Oct 19, 2016

Criminal Practice – Guilty Plea – Motion to Withdraw – Sentencing Recommendation

State v. McGill (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-344-16, 22 pp.) (Wendy Enochs, J.) Appealed from New Hanover County Superior Court (W. Allen Cobb Jr., J.) N.C. App. Holding: Defendant pleaded guilty, hoping that the information he intended to provide the state about an unrelated case would prompt the state to recommend a reduced sentence. When the […]

Sep 21, 2016

Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Guilty Plea – Offense Level – Stipulation – Sexual Offense Registry – Clerical Error

State v. Robinson (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-326-16, 15 pp.) (Donna Stroud, J.) Appealed from Burke County Superior Court (Jeffrey Hunt, J.) N.C. App. Holding: A defendant may stipulate to a prior out-of-state conviction being classified as the default Class I felony, since such this issue does not implicate a question of law. Here, even though […]

Aug 9, 2016

Man serving life for murder pleads guilty in 1997 killing

LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) — A man serving a life sentence for murder has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 1997 death of a student at UNC Pembroke. WITN-TV in Greenville reports Dane Locklear pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a Lumberton courtroom to second-degree murder in the death of 24-year-old Cynthia Wheeler of Plymouth. Locklear […]

May 4, 2016

Criminal Practice – Court Vacates Invalid Guilty Plea

U.S. v. Fitzgerald (Lawyers Weekly No. 001-080-16, 16 pp.) (Traxler, J.) No. 14-4795, April 27, 2016; USDC at Baltimore, Md. (Russell, J.) 4th Cir. Holding: A defendant who was assured by the district court that he was not waiving his right to appeal the earlier denial of a suppression plea did not enter either a […]

Feb 3, 2016

Criminal Practice – No Sentence Review for Stipulated Plea

U.S. v. Williams (Lawyers Weekly No. 001-023-16, 11 pp.) (Wynn, J.) No. 14-4680, Jan. 28, 2016; USDC at Florence, S.C. (Harwell, J.) 4th Cir. Holding: A defendant who pleaded guilty to cocaine conspiracy and was sentenced to 120 months in prison pursuant to a Rule 11(c)(1)(C) stipulated plea agreement may not have her sentence reviewed […]

Oct 8, 2015

Criminal Practice – Appeals – Guilty Plea – Dismissed

State v. Biddix (Lawyers Weekly No. 15-07-0948, 14 pp.) (John Tyson, J.) (Martha Geer, J., concurring in the result only) Appealed from Catawba County Superior Court (Eric Levinson, J.) N.C. App. Holding: Even though defendant’s plea agreement said the state would not seek aggravating factors, and even though the trial court found the existence of […]

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