A Vigo County man’s petition for post-conviction relief was denied by the Indiana Court of Appeals on Thursday.
Charles A. Edmonson, pro se, argued the post-conviction court erred in concluding his petition was barred by the doctrine of laches in Charles A. Edmonson v. State of Indiana, 84A01-1609-PC-2150.
“We agree the court’s finding of laches was clearly erroneous because the State did not demonstrate it was prejudiced,” wrote Judge Melissa S. May for the court. “Nevertheless, we affirm the court’s denial of Edmonson’s petition because, as the post-conviction court also found, Indiana law did not require Edmonson be advised of all possible collateral consequences of his guilty plea for that plea to have been entered voluntarily.”
In August 1993, pursuant to a plea agreement, Edmonson pleaded guilty to Class B misdemeanor public intoxication and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief, and he was sentenced to serve 180 days on each count, concurrently, in the Indiana Department of Correction. The court gave Edmonson credit for two days he had already served, suspended the sentence, and placed Edmonson on one year of probation.
While on probation, Edmonson committed murder. The trial court convicted him and sentenced him to 60 years in prison. In sentencing Edmonson, the Vigo Superior Court found as an aggravator “Edmonson’s prior convictions for offenses related to alcohol.”
The post-conviction court held a hearing on Edmonson’s petition on August 18, 2016, in which he said the trial court and his counsel failed to advise him of the true consequences of his misdemeanor guilty plea, such as its use as an aggravator in a future sentence.
The State raised the affirmative defense of laches and argued Edmonson’s petition also fails on the merits. The court summarily denied Edmonson’s petition for post-conviction relief after announcing at the hearing both that the State had demonstrated Edmonson’s petition was barred by the doctrine of laches and that Indiana law did not entitle Edmonson to an advisement of possible future collateral consequences of his guilty plea.
The COA found Edmonson’s 23-year delay was unreasonable, but because the state did not show it was prejudiced, laches was not an affirmative defense.“Nevertheless, the court correctly found Edmonson was not entitled to relief because the trial court that accepted Edmonson’s guilty plea had not been required to advise Edmonson about collateral consequences of that guilty plea,” May wrote for the panel.