ILNews

S.C. grants transfer on plea agreement issue

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Supreme Court will decide in a case of first impression whether a criminal defendant can waive the right to appeal in a plea agreement. The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on this issue twice this year and decided defendants can waive the right to a direct appeal of a sentence.

The Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday for Timothy Ray Creech v. State of Indiana (NFP), 35A02-0612-CR-1140. Creech pleaded guilty to child molestation and later appealed his six-year sentence. During his guilty plea, Creech stated he understood he has the right to appeal his sentence if there is an open plea, but he waived the right to appeal his sentence as long as the Judge "sentences me within the terms of my plea agreement." The court sentenced Creech to the maximum under the plea agreement.

As the Court of Appeals noted in another case dealing with the same issue, Santiago Perez v. State of Indiana, 866 N.E.2d 817 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007), there are no Indiana decisions addressing an express waiver of the right to a direct appeal as part of a plea bargain agreement. In Perez, the Court of Appeals held that a defendant may in a plea agreement waive his right to direct appeal of his sentence because plea agreements are contractual in nature and bind the defendant, state, and trial court.

In Creech, the Court of Appeals referenced Perez in ruling Creech waived his right to a direct appeal because he expressly agreed to do so in his plea agreement.
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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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