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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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