Appeal of a Criminal Conviction

| Aug 30, 2010 | Criminal Defense |

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decided last year that in determining that a plea was involuntary, an appellate court may not rely on unsworn allegations made by trial counsel in a document that was faxed to the court coordinator, and later filed with the district clerk, when no fact-finder has evaluated that statement.  

The court of appeals erred to rely on the allegations in the “Motion for Appeal” because post-trial motions such as these are not self-proving and any allegations made in support of them by way of affidavit or otherwise must be offered into evidence at a hearing.  
Second, when a defendant enters an open plea of guilty and the trial court, after admonishing the defendant , accepts the plea and finds the defendant guilty, the trial court’s subsequent offer of a non-negotiated sentence-settlement does not constitute judicial coercion or judicial plea bargaining affecting the voluntariness of the plea.
Plea bargaining by the trial court concerning the appellant’s punishment could not have influenced appellant’s decision to enter and “open” plea of guilty the day before.