COA: sentence waiver is valid

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a defendant’s petition for permission to file a belated notice of appeal, finding that she waived the right to challenge her sentence in a direct appeal.

Jessica Bowling agreed to plead guilty to Class A felony neglect of a dependent in exchange for a 40-year cap on the executed portion of her sentence. Along with the plea agreement, Bowling signed a written advisement and waiver of rights that contained the following provision in paragraph 10: “By pleading guilty you have agreed to waive your right to appeal your sentence so long as the Judge sentences you within the terms of your plea agreement.” She was sentenced to 40 years, executed.

She later filed a petition for permission to file a belated notice of appeal pursuant to Indiana Post-Conviction Rule 2, which was denied. She believed the waiver – specifically paragraph 10 – is a misstatement of law.

In Jessica Bowling v. State of Indiana, No. 35A04-1107-CR-407, the appellate court noted that Bowling freely signed the advisement, in which she acknowledged that she “agreed” to waive her right to appeal the sentence. During the hearing, Bowling agreed that she had received the advisement, read it, gone over it with her attorney, understood it and signed it. The content and language of the advisement and the trial court’s discussion with Bowling at the guilty plea hearing are sufficient to support enforcement of the waiver in paragraph 10, held the judges.

“… paragraph 10 sufficiently informs a defendant that although she has a right to appeal an open sentence, she is agreeing to waive that right as part of her plea agreement,” wrote Judge Terry Crone. “That said, to avoid even the possibility of confusion, such a waiver provision would be improved by using the following language or language similar thereto: ‘As a condition of entering this plea agreement, I knowingly and voluntarily agree to waive my right to appeal my sentence on the basis that it is erroneous or for any other reason so long as the Judge sentences me within the terms of my plea agreement.’ In addition, it would be helpful to include a waiver of the right to appeal an open sentence in the plea agreement itself, as well as any written advisement and waiver of rights that is executed along with the plea agreement.”



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  1. Freedom From Religion Foundation: If you really want to be free from religion, don't go to the Christmas Play or the Christmas Pageant or the Christmas Parade. Anything with "Christ" or Saint...fill in the blank...would be off limits to you. Then leave the rest of us ALONE!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!!!!!!

  4. 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 !!!

  5. 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