He told me if I didnt plead guilty, the judge would put me in jail for the duration of the trial, because one of the conditions of my release was that I receive no new charges. That meant a month or more in jail for a charge I likely wouldve done no time for otherwise. I take care of someone who is disabled and depends on me, so going to jail for that long was out of the question. He said in exchange for a guilty plea, the prosecutor wouldnt ask for jail time. He failed to inform me that I will be on probation that will require me to check in daily on the phone and in person weekly for 2 years. When the judge asked me if I was threatened or coerced into pleading guilty, I wanted to say yes, but I was afraid of the possible consequences. How could I trust that he or his colleagues would have my best interest at heart going forward, if I informed the judge what had happened? Neither him, nor anyone else from the office of public defense were likely to represent me anymore if I told the judge what he had done. What can I do? Is there someone that can help me? Since I plead guilty, am I just screwed now? I did enter an Alford plea, but I doubt that will help me much.
I’m not a real fan of the question “have you been threatened or coerced into entering a plea?” There is always a threat of the prosecutor asking for more time or additional sanctions and nobody really ever enters a plea of guilty of their own free will. The question should be more like “has anybody threatened bodily harm or other illegal action in order to get you to enter a plea?”
If you had answered that you felt coerced the judge would have simply refused to take the guilty plea. Then you would have been right back in the spot you were trying to avoid; facing the choice of possibly sitting in jail while awaiting trial or pleading guilty to something you are not comfortable with.
An Alford plea is a guilty plea. In some ways it’s harder to withdraw an Alford plea than a regular guilty plea.
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The PD is warning you of a very real threat. Some judges will take you into custody if you were released and picked up a new charge while the case is pending. A PD working in that courtroom knows what the judge tends to do or not, so, I'd listen to what the PD say. In my opinion, the PD did his job in warning you and I'd think any judge would agree with that.
He should have informed you of probation, however, in the end, it wouldn't have changed anything because formal probation is very common in many WA jurisdictions so you don't have much of a choice in the matter. If you don't wish to be on probation, you can go to jail for the maximum sentence. -- That's the ONLY way to avoid probation.
With that said,
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