ILNews

S.C. grants transfer on plea agreement issue

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Supreme Court will decide in a case of first impression whether a criminal defendant can waive the right to appeal in a plea agreement. The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on this issue twice this year and decided defendants can waive the right to a direct appeal of a sentence.

The Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday for Timothy Ray Creech v. State of Indiana (NFP), 35A02-0612-CR-1140. Creech pleaded guilty to child molestation and later appealed his six-year sentence. During his guilty plea, Creech stated he understood he has the right to appeal his sentence if there is an open plea, but he waived the right to appeal his sentence as long as the Judge "sentences me within the terms of my plea agreement." The court sentenced Creech to the maximum under the plea agreement.

As the Court of Appeals noted in another case dealing with the same issue, Santiago Perez v. State of Indiana, 866 N.E.2d 817 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007), there are no Indiana decisions addressing an express waiver of the right to a direct appeal as part of a plea bargain agreement. In Perez, the Court of Appeals held that a defendant may in a plea agreement waive his right to direct appeal of his sentence because plea agreements are contractual in nature and bind the defendant, state, and trial court.

In Creech, the Court of Appeals referenced Perez in ruling Creech waived his right to a direct appeal because he expressly agreed to do so in his plea agreement.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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