After a person is charged with a criminal offense, the court will conduct various hearings, including one in which the defendant is asked to enter a plea. While a person’s first inclination is usually to plead not guilty, in some cases, it makes sense to enter a guilty plea. Even if pleading guilty is the best strategy, it is not a decision to be made lightly, as it can have significant ramifications. Thus, the court must ensure that a defendant who wishes to enter a guilty plea is making an educated and consensual decision to do so; otherwise, the plea may be deemed involuntary. The criteria for establishing an involuntary guilty plea were the topic of a recent Washington ruling in a case in which the defendant was convicted of assault. If you are accused of assault, it is wise to speak to a Washington assault defense lawyer to evaluate your options.
Facts of the Case
It is reported that the defendant was charged with numerous crimes relating to the death of the victim. After the charges had been pending for over a year, the State filed an amended information with nine charges, including first-degree assault with a firearm. Several months later, the defendant agreed to plead guilty to a count of second-degree assault and a count of first-degree manslaughter.
Allegedly, the defendant provided a written statement at the plea hearing that asserted he was guilty of second-degree assault because he assaulted the victim. The court reviewed the plea statement with the defendant and confirmed that he had reviewed it with his attorney. Thus, the defendant was found guilty as charged. He later appealed, arguing that his plea was involuntary. Continue reading