May 1, 2013
NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL ATTORNEY APPEALS STATE’S WITHDRAW FROM PLEA BARGAIN WITHOUT CONDITIONS IN WRITTEN PLEA AGREEMENT
The defendant appealed from a judgment of conviction for second-degree eluding, second degree certain persons not to have weapons, other lower-degree offenses, as well as an appeal from the aggregate sentence of 15 years subject to the No Early Release Act. Before the defendant’s trial commenced, the defendant entered into a plea agreement allowing the defendant to plead guilty to eluding, and certain persons not to have weapons, in return for a maximum possible sentence of 10 years with five-year parole bar.
The defendant attempted to condition his plea on an understanding that he and his co-defendants would all be entering into plea agreements. The state’s only promise was that the defendant would not be required to testify against the co-defendants. The defendant offered his sworn admission to eluding the police and possession of the firearm. The judge accepted the plea agreement; but a month later, one of the co-defendants opted to go to trial and the state filed a motion to vacate the defendant’s plea agreement. The defendant’s New Jersey criminal lawyer argued that the defendant did not want to vacate the plea agreement and the trial judge granted the motion.
The Appellate Division ruled that it was error for the trial court to permit the state to withdraw from a plea bargain, over the defendant’s objection. The panel stated that the state should have explicitly stated those conditions in the written plea agreement.
Legal Quote of the Week:
“Pleading is an exact setting forth of the truth”
Sir Robert Atkyns, English jurist, Trial of Sir Edward Hales (1686), 11 How. St. Tr. 1243