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Judges order man sentenced under original plea agreement

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The District Court committed a legal error when it withdrew a defendant’s guilty plea on his behalf instead of allowing the defendant the choice to stand by the plea or withdraw it, ruled the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Juan Carlos Adame-Hernandez sold cocaine and was a source of the drug distributed by the Mockabee organization referenced in a separate opinion released Monday by the 7th Circuit. Hernandez entered into a plea agreement Jan. 3, 2011, in which he would be subject to a base level of 38. The parties agreed that he should be sentenced to 204 months in prison, followed by supervised release and a fine.

The presentence investigation report said that Hernandez was responsible for more than 150 kilograms of cocaine, a number he objected to. Six months after the guilty plea, the prosecutor claimed that Hernandez objected to the base level offense stipulated since he disputed the amount of drug attributed to him, and that this is grounds to find a breach of the plea agreement.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker found this position to be a breach, withdrew his guilty plea and set the matter for trial because the sentence was not consistence with other sentences given out to defendants in similar situations.  A grand jury indicted him again, with the counts being the same as alleged previously. Hernandez attempted to have his original plea reinstated, but when that failed, he agreed to plead guilty again. This time he was sentenced to 300 months in prison on two counts.

In United States of America v. Juan Carlos Adame-Hernandez, 12-1268, the 7th Circuit ordered the District Court to allow Hernandez to maintain his original guilty plea and be sentenced under its terms.

Once the judge accepted his guilty plea, the conditions under which the plea may be withdrawn are governed by Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Nothing in that rule authorizes the court to withdraw the defendant’s guilty plea for him. It can reject the plea agreement but then must give the defendant an opportunity to withdraw the plea or stand by it. That did not occur in this case.

Neither the government nor the District Court had the authority to subject him to the same indictment again, the judges ruled.

“Our holding is an exceedingly narrow one, and pertains only to cases in which a defendant pleads guilty after the district court has already accepted a guilty plea to charges that, on the face of the indictment or other charging document, are identical to those the defendant pleads to in the later proceeding. This case fits well within the exception to the general waiver rule already recognized in (Menna v. New York, 423 U.S. 61 (1975)) and (Blackledge v. Perry, 417 U.S. 21, 31 (1974)), and a guilty plea will still act to bar typical objections against the district court’s handling of plea agreements and related issues,” Judge John Tinder wrote.

 

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  1. Falk said “At this point, at this minute, we’ll savor this particular victory.” “It certainly is a historic week on this front,” Cockrum said. “What a delight ... “Happy Independence Day to the women of the state of Indiana,” WOW. So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)

  2. congratulations on such balanced journalism; I also love how fetus disposal affects women's health protection, as covered by Roe...

  3. It truly sickens me every time a case is compared to mine. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld my convictions based on a finding of “hidden threats.” The term “hidden threat” never appeared until the opinion in Brewington so I had no way of knowing I was on trial for making hidden threats because Dearborn County Prosecutor F Aaron Negangard argued the First Amendment didn't protect lies. Negangard convened a grand jury to investigate me for making “over the top” and “unsubstantiated” statements about court officials, not hidden threats of violence. My indictments and convictions were so vague, the Indiana Court of Appeals made no mention of hidden threats when they upheld my convictions. Despite my public defender’s closing arguments stating he was unsure of exactly what conduct the prosecution deemed to be unlawful, Rush found that my lawyer’s trial strategy waived my right to the fundamental error of being tried for criminal defamation because my lawyer employed a strategy that attempted to take advantage of Negangard's unconstitutional criminal defamation prosecution against me. Rush’s opinion stated the prosecution argued two grounds for conviction one constitutional and one not, however the constitutional true threat “argument” consistently of only a blanket reading of subsection 1 of the intimidation statute during closing arguments, making it impossible to build any kind of defense. Of course intent was impossible for my attorney to argue because my attorney, Rush County Chief Public Defender Bryan Barrett refused to meet with me prior to trial. The record is littered with examples of where I made my concerns known to the trial judge that I didn’t know the charges against me, I did not have access to evidence, all while my public defender refused to meet with me. Special Judge Brian Hill, from Rush Superior Court, refused to address the issue with my public defender and marched me to trial without access to evidence or an understanding of the indictments against me. Just recently the Indiana Public Access Counselor found that four over four years Judge Hill has erroneously denied access to the grand jury audio from my case, the most likely reason being the transcription of the grand jury proceedings omitted portions of the official audio record. The bottom line is any intimidation case involves an action or statement that is debatably a threat of physical violence. There were no such statements in my case. The Indiana Supreme Court took partial statements I made over a period of 41 months and literally connected them with dots… to give the appearance that the statements were made within the same timeframe and then claimed a person similarly situated would find the statements intimidating while intentionally leaving out surrounding contextual factors. Even holding the similarly situated test was to be used in my case, the prosecution argued that the only intent of my public writings was to subject the “victims” to ridicule and hatred so a similarly situated jury instruction wouldn't even have applied in my case. Chief Justice Rush wrote the opinion while Rush continued to sit on a committee with one of the alleged victims in my trial and one of the judges in my divorce, just as she'd done for the previous 7+ years. All of this information, including the recent PAC opinion against the Dearborn Superior Court II can be found on my blog www.danbrewington.blogspot.com.

  4. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  5. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

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