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Philip Edward Thornton
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Philip Thornton’s Answers

5 total

  • Can someone withdraw a guilty plea after already signing it?

    My lawyer talked me into signing a plea of guilty on the day of trial, by telling me that he felt there was a slim chance of winning the trial. And so I agreed and the judge accepted my plea but set my sentencing over 2 weeks. I have since then l...

    Philip’s Answer

    Washington State has a court rule regarding the Defendant's withdrawal of a guilty plea. Criminal Rule 42.(f) provides in relevant part: "The court shall allow a defendant to withdraw his plea of guilty whenever it appears that the withdrawal is necessary to correct a manifest injustice." The term “manifest injustice” is nowhere defined in the rule itself, but Washington case law has developed some definition and clarification of the term. It is now firmly established that one of the indicia of a “manifest injustice” so as to justify the withdrawal of a guilty plea, exists where a defendant’s guilty plea was made involuntarily and without knowing and complete understanding of the nature of the charge and of the consequences of his plea. State v. Taylor, 83 Wn. 2d 594, 521 P.2d 699 (1983). It sounds like you may have a basis to withdrawal your guilty plea if you were truly not advised of the nature of the charge and the possible defense to the charge. The issue well need to be present to the court which accepted your plea in a formal motion supported by your declaration setting forth the reasons you believe you were not made fully advised as to the nature of the charge and the potential defenses. Additionally, you should hire a lawyer to review the guilty plea paperwork and a transcription of the plea colloquy to make sure your were properly informed of all the consequences of entering a guilty plea and the potential punishments. You will need to do this rather quickly (prior to your sentencing date) as the courts are reluctant to withdrawal a guilty plea after the sentencing has occurred.

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  • I've been charged with malicious mischief 2nd deg-domestic violence with no previous record.

    As of now I have a public defender. The charges state that the damage was sole property of my spouse, when it's actually community property. My public defender is hiring an investigator and is seeking a suppression hearing (statement was taken whi...

    Philip’s Answer

    You need to consult fully with your appointed counsel. It sounds as though your counsel is actively involved in your case. The counsel shoud be able to explain to you the positives and negatives of going to trial and/or accepting a plea offer. Most criminal defense attorneys, whether public or private, have a good handle on the likely outcome of a case if it proceeds to a trial. Notwithstanding, please be aware that even if the property allegedly damaged is community property, the destruction of such prioperty can support the bsis of a Malicious Mischief charge. Community property co-owned and co-possessed by defendant and his wife constituted “property of another,” within the meaning of the second degree malicious mischief statute; defendant's rights in the community property did not include the right to infringe upon his wife's rights to the property. State v. Coria, 146 Wash.2d 631, 48 P.3d 980 (2002).

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  • If I am being charged with residential burglary a couple times. But I haven't been to prison once in my life how much jail time?

    I commuted the crime or crimes because I was addicted to pills percolate 30 and I haven't been to prison in my life . And I think I don't have many points how much jail time am I to facing ? Wat can I do to get less jail time ?

    Philip’s Answer

    Residential Burglary is a nonviolent Class B felony. The maximum sentence for a Class B felony is 10 years of incarceration and up to a $20,000 fine. Washington State has a determinative sentencing grid based upon the seriousness level of the offense and a person's prior criminal history. The seriousness level of Residential Burglary in the First Degree is a Level IV. For an offender who has no prior criminal history, the standard sentencing range is 3 to 9 months. The Washington State statute also provides for a consideration of "other current offenses" to be factored into a person's Offender Score. In some instances, convictions for multiple similar current crimes can increase your offender score thus increasing the potential standard range sentence. There are a number of sentencing alternatives available to the sentencing court such as electronic home monitoring, community service, and work release. You should consult with a lawyer about the likelihood of conviction, lesser included offenses, and sentencing options available in your specific case. Every case is unique and present its own set of mitigating facts. These can always be presented at the time of sentencing if there is a conviction.

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  • What are the charges and sentence for Identity theft in the first degree

    a 20 year old with no past of this and has no points against them

    Philip’s Answer

    If I understand your question correctly, the crime of Identity Theft in the First Degree requires the State to prove the following: A person commits the crime of identity theft in the first degree when, with intent to commit any crime, he or she knowingly obtains, possesses, uses, or transfers a means of identification or financial information of another person, living or dead, and obtains credit, money, goods, services or anything else in excess of $1500 in value. The crime of Identity Theft in the First Degree is a Class B felony wherein the maximum sentence is 10 years incarceration and up to a $20,000 fine. Washington State has a determinative sentencing grid based upon the seriousness level of the offense and a person's prior criminal history. The seriousness level of Identity Theft in the First Degree is a Level IV. For an offender who has no prior criminal history, the standard sentencing range is 3 to 9 months. There are a number of sentencing alternatives available to the sentencing court such as electronic home monitoring, community service, and work release. You should consult with a lawyer about the likelihood of conviction, lesser included offenses, and sentencing options available in your specific case. Every case is unique and has its own set of mitigating facts/circumstances. These can always be presented at the time of sentencing if there is a conviction.

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  • Should I just agree to a dependency order? I feel I have a solid case to fight it, but my attorney is is no help.

    My kids were taken because I was a victim of domestic violence and they felt I couldn't keep my kids safe. I have done everything to keep them safe and the abuser is in jail. They still won't give me my kids. I need a shark on my side to prove I a...

    Philip’s Answer

    You need to meet with your appointed counsel and fully discuss his/her recommendation. Lawyers appointed in dependency cases are very capable and knowledgeable. In my jurisdiction, there are very few private attorneys that specialize in dependency cases. As the client, you must fully understand what the allegations are against you, what evidence does the State possess to support those allegations and what are your potential avenues are to address the allegations. The Petition for Dependency must specifically set forth the facts that State believes require the court to find your children dependent and why you are unable to care for the children. The State is obligated to provide you services to address the issues which they assert keep you from being able to care for your children. Those services can be provided without the finding by the court of dependency. You can also obtain services independently of the State to address any alleged deficiencies. You need to fully discuss with your attorney what the specific allegations being made by the State against you before you can decide whether his/her advice is right for you.

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