We were in court on Tuesday morning for a status conference. My son told his attorney that he had decided to take the plea offer. He was kept at the courthouse until 2 PM for him to enter the plea. He was not allowed access to call me and I wasn't allowed to see him. He was sentenced on Wednesday. He is having second thoughts. What can he do now? This is a high profile murder case.
It is fairly easy to withdraw a guilty plea before sentencing, but very difficult to withdraw a plea after sentencing. That being said, the real question is whether or not it was in your son's best interest to accept the plea agreement. Often, defendants regret accepting a plea agreement because it entails a lengthy sentence, and not because they had a strong chance of winning at trial. Your son's attorney is in the best position to access the favorability of the plea agreement. The primary factors to consider are the likelihood of winning a trial versus the sentence imposed pursuant to the plea agreement.
Criminal Defense Attorney
After sentencing, a defendant's rights are limited. He has 10 days to ask for reconsideration and 30 days to file a very limited appeal. The motions must be in writing and if he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed free of charge.
Your son's options are very limited under the circumstances and he must act quickly. He needs to meet with his attorney without delay to discuss his current concerns.
Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
I agree with attorneys Keller & Jones. I would add, if your son had an attorney, this should be brought to his or her attention immediately
Stew Crawford, Jr., Esq.
Crawford Law Firm
A Full Service Law Firm Serving New Jersey & Pennsylvania
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Media, Pennsylvania 19063 (Philadelphia Area)
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If your son made a mistake or was pressured into a plea every day that passes makes it less likely that he will be able to change it. You should find an experienced homicide attorney immediately. He has ten days to file post sentence motions and 30 days to appeal. The aforementioned dates are firm and must not be missed.
Evan Hughes, Esquire
I agree with the other attorneys that your son has 10 days to fie motions with the trial judge to post-sentence relief such as Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea or a Motion to Modify Sentence. All post-sentence motions must be in writing and specify the reasons why relief is requested. Remember, if he entered into a plea bargain it is far more difficult to convince the Judge to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea because he knew the sentence he was going to receive. On the other hand, if he plead guilty and was awaiting a sentencing the trial judge will most likely allow him to withdraw his guilty plea. The key here is whether he took a plea bargain or whether he plead "open" which means he did not know what sentence the Judge would impose. You state that your son entered into a plea agreement but this might not necessarily mean that he knew the sentence to be imposed. Plea agreements do not always include the sentence to be imposed. Please let your son know that he must contact his attorney in order to file the above mentioned Motions. I am assuming that your son is and was incarcerated, so you must realize that the Sheriff cannot possibly allow inmates to see their Mothers while they are in the holding cell of the courthouse. This would be a huge security risk.
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