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Defendant waived right to appeal sentence

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Finding that a man knowingly and voluntarily waived the right to appeal the appropriateness of his concurrent 34-year sentences following a guilty plea to drug charges, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his sentence.

In Richard Hawkins v. State of Indiana, 79A02-1211-CR-958, Richard Hawkins agreed to plead guilty to Class A felonies dealing in cocaine and possession of cocaine in exchange for other drug charges to be dropped. The plea said the sentencing would be at the discretion of the trial court, other than Hawkins would receive concurrent sentences. It also contained language that he knowingly and voluntarily agrees to waive his right to appeal his sentence by entering into the plea.

Despite this waiver clause, Hawkins argues that he didn’t knowingly or voluntarily waive this right to appeal his sentence, pointing to the trial court’s advisement during the plea hearing that he is entitled to be represented by an attorney on appeal.

But the appellate court found by explaining that Hawkins has the right to an attorney, the trial judge did not contradict the waiver portion. Instead, read in the context of the hearing, the trial court merely explained Hawkins’ right to representation – a right clearly distinct from his right to appeal his sentence, Judge Patricia Riley wrote.

“By separating the right to appeal from the right to representation, the trial court properly advised Hawkins without contradicting itself or raising any ambiguities. We conclude that Hawkins knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to appeal his sentence,” she wrote.

 

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