Defendants can waive appeal right in bargains

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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Criminal defendants can waive their right to appeal a trial court's sentencing decision as part of a plea agreement, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.

In a unanimous ruling in Timothy Ray Creech v. State of Indiana, No. 35S02-0709-CR-376, justices affirmed a decision from Huntington Circuit Judge Thomas M. Hakes.

The case stems from a six-year executed sentence on a child-molesting charge in 2006; Creech had entered a plea agreement that left the sentence up to the trial judge but capped the executed portion at six years. The agreement stated, "I understand that I have a right to appeal my sentence if there is an open plea ... I hereby waive my right to appeal my sentence as long as the Judge sentences me within the terms of my plea agreement."

Creech argued that because the judge didn't question him about that provision, later informed him he had the right to appeal, and that he didn't knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to appellate review, he was able to challenge the sentence. Justices disagreed.

"Acceptance of the plea agreement containing the waiver provision is sufficient to indicate that, in the trial court's view, the defendant knowingly and voluntarily agreed to the waiver," Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard wrote, noting that this ruling doesn't affect the court's long-standing policy that a defendant can argue those points in post-conviction proceedings if the plea was coerced or made unintelligently.

Though justices determined that the trial judge did erroneously advise Creech of a possibility for an appeal, they determined that Creech had already received the benefit of the plea agreement and that advisement likely had no effect on the result.

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  1. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  2. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  3. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  4. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon

  5. So men who think they are girls at heart can use the lady's potty? Usually the longer line is for the women's loo, so, the ladies may be the ones to experience temporary gender dysphoria, who knows? Is it ok to joke about his or is that hate? I may need a brainwash too, hey! I may just object to my own comment, later, if I get myself properly "oriented"