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Judges affirm denial of motion to withdraw plea

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The trial court did not err when it denied a defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea after his attorney failed to discover that the state could charge him with being a habitual offender in only one of the two separate causes that were filed against him, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

Jason Jeffries pleaded guilty to Class A felony possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver or manufacture under Cause FA-029. In exchange, the habitual offender charges on that cause and a separate one, FC-113, were dismissed. At his sentencing hearing, Jeffries’ attorney told the trial court that his review of the habitual offender statute indicated that Jeffries couldn’t have been subject to such an enhancement under FA-029, but was still eligible for that charge under FC-113.

Jeffries then tried to withdraw his guilty plea, which the trial court denied. He was sentenced to 40 years as outlined in the plea agreement.

In Jason Jeffries v. State of Indiana, No. 87A01-1102-CR-128, the COA held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to withdraw because Jeffries could have been tried on one of the habitual offender counts, potentially resulting in a longer sentence than he received under the plea agreement, and both habitual offender counts were dismissed pursuant to the plea agreement.

Jeffries’ claim of ineffective assistance of counsel also failed because he can’t establish he would have received a better outcome than the 40-year sentence he received under the agreement if he had been convicted of the charges at trial.

 

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