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Entering a guilty plea is not a mitigating factor, COA rules

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Although a Shelby County man successfully argued that signing an “Advisement of Rights and Waiver” document did not bar him from appealing his sentence, he failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that the trial court abused its discretion when sentencing him.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the aggregate sentence of 25 years executed and five years suspended in Ryan Westlake v. State of Indiana, 73A01-1209-CR-433.

Ryan Westlake had entered a plea agreement, pleading guilty to Class A felony child molesting and Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor, in exchange for having four other charges dismissed. As a mitigating factor, he pointed to his mental health issues.

However, in imposing the sentence, the trial court found the mitigating factor was equally countered by the aggravating factors of his criminal and juvenile record.

Westlake appealed, arguing the trial court abused its discretion because it did not use his guilty plea as a mitigating factor.

The state submitted that Westlake waived his right to appeal these issues because he signed the “Advisement of Rights and Waiver” document. This form was submitted to the court along with Westlake’s plea agreement.

The COA found that although Westlake waived his right to challenge his sentence pursuant to Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B), the waiver provision does not specifically address abuse of discretion claims. Consequently, the court concluded that Westlake did not waive his abuse of discretion claim.

Still, the Court of Appeals ruled the trial court did not abuse its discretion. The COA noted Westlake gained a “substantial benefit” by pleading guilty because four additional charges were dismissed, three of which were felonies. In addition, Westlake admitted to having sexual intercourse with the two underage victims multiple times.


 

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  1. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

  2. wow is this a bunch of bs! i know the facts!

  3. MCBA .... time for a new release about your entire membership (or is it just the alter ego) being "saddened and disappointed" in the failure to lynch a police officer protecting himself in the line of duty. But this time against Eric Holder and the Federal Bureau of Investigation: "WASHINGTON — Justice Department lawyers will recommend that no civil rights charges be brought against the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., after an F.B.I. investigation found no evidence to support charges, law enforcement officials said Wednesday." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/us/justice-department-ferguson-civil-rights-darren-wilson.html?ref=us&_r=0

  4. Dr wail asfour lives 3 hours from the hospital,where if he gets an emergency at least he needs three hours,while even if he is on call he should be in a location where it gives him max 10 minutes to be beside the patient,they get paid double on their on call days ,where look how they handle it,so if the death of the patient occurs on weekend and these doctors still repeat same pattern such issue should be raised,they should be closer to the patient.on other hand if all the death occured on the absence of the Dr and the nurses handle it,the nurses should get trained how to function appearntly they not that good,if the Dr lives 3 hours far from the hospital on his call days he should sleep in the hospital

  5. It's a capital offense...one for you Latin scholars..

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