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I was coerced under duress into admitting guilt while suffering from a later diagnosed mental illness . Can I appeal?

New York, NY |

The nature of the crime was drug related. Lesser amount purchases led up to a considerable quantity for which I feel I was coerced/entrapped. There was very little due diligence done on the court's behalf to afford me a fair sentence due to the ADA wanting to prosecute quickly. With a documented record of problems stemming from traumas, child abuse, drug use and mental illness, I was made to believe by my lawyer I had no option but to accept the sentence given to me and not to appeal the case later on. Though designated needing to be placed in a mental health facility, I was not offered the benefit of long term therapy causing my issues to continue to become worse. Are there any options available to me to fight my conviction though I have already served my complete sentence?

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Attorney answers 6


You need to move to vacate the conviction. If you win the motion you still face the original charges.

The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


I suggest that you hire an attorney for your appeal. Ineffective counsel can be a ground.


You could explore the possibility of having your guilty plea withdrawn, but like my colleague stated, that will just start the proceeding over. You best bet would be to consult with a criminal defense attorney in your area to see what your best options are.

Good luck.

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Your efforts will be more difficult if you waived your right to appeal. You need to consider the possible outcomes. Even if you get your plea back, you still face those charges and the case goes back to where it was before you pleaded guilty. You will still get credit for any punishment completed but there is no guarantee you will have a better result.

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You certainly have an argument to vacate the plea but there's no guarantee the court will grant that motion. Speak to a local appellate lawyer and see what they say. Dont forget that even if you win that motion you'd still have to face the original charges again, and odds are the DA wouldn't be feeling very generous to you once they've gone through the appellate issue. This may not be worth the time, expense and energy, but that's for you to decide.

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Your time to appeal has likely expired even if you didn't waive your right to appeal in connection with your plea. You may move to vacate your plea based upon your state of mind at the time of your plea. Your burden will be to show that your plea was not knowing and intelligent. A recent case decided by the Appellate Division 3rd Dept. People v. Hennessey (a link to the decision appears below) which found that with a proper showing of mental incapacity a court should hold a hearing to determine the validity of the plea. As noted in some of the other contributor's answers, success on the motion with restore the original charges which will still need to be defended. Having served your sentence you should consult with an attorney to review your options.

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