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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    illegal plea-bargain

    What is the name of your state? Iowa

    I just wanted people to know that lawyers can make a plea-bargain on your behalf, and get you convicted, even if you don't consent to the plea.

    It does not matter that state law explicitly requires a judge to verify consent, because there is no mechanism for ensuring that judges follow the law. This actually happened to me: I was 'pled' guilty without ever appearing before a judge, the prosecutor, or a court recorder. I did not sign anything, I did not agree to anything, I was not present when this plea was made, and I informed my lawyer verbally and in writing that I did not wish to accept a plea-bargain, and that I wanted this to go to trial. I was not guilty of the crime in question, and my constitutional right to a trial was completely ignored.

    I've told this to other people, who insist that it's outrageously unbelievable, and must therefore be untrue -- but it is true. Why did my lawyer do this? I don't know... I like to think that he genuinely believed this to be in my best interest, but it certainly wasn't his decision to make. Heh, I think it would be interesting to try and understand the burden of blame which should be divided between the judge, prosecutor, and 'my' lawyer -- who exactly dropped the ball here? I suppose, as I read the law itself, it seems that it was the judge who ultimately failed.

    Iowa Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 2.8 Arraignment and plea: <-- VIOLATED

    The court... shall not accept a plea of guilty without first determining that the plea is made voluntarily and intelligently and has a factual basis. Before accepting a plea of guilty, the court must address the defendant personally in open court and inform the defendant of, and determine that the defendant understands...
    The criminal-justice system is clearly broken, and there is no way to appeal in such a situation (unless you are wealthy).

    Meanwhile, I now have a criminal-history destroying my life and career opportunities.

    Last edited by Adam Rinkleff; 10-13-2007 at 08:04 AM.
  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    What is the offense? I don't know Iowa law but many states allow attorney's to enter pleas on behalf of their clients on minor offenses. For instance that language you quote is fairly identical to the language of my State but it only applies if it is a Class B or higher offense (I don't know how they grade offenses in Iowa.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by Curt581 View Post
    Is there a legal question in there somewhere?
    Not really, I'd love to hear actual legal advice, but I know better than to expect that from the internet; mostly, I just want people to be aware that this can happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curt581 View Post
    I don't know Iowa law but many states allow attorney's to enter pleas on behalf of their clients on minor offenses.
    That's a good point, and I thank you for responding; I'm really not sure how Iowa law works, certainly there is no obvious exemption to the law I quoted, but there are always wierd loopholes that nobody knows about. However, the issue is actually a little more complicated than I described, because the lawyer wasn't actually MY lawyer; he was a lawyer that somebody else mentioned my case to, I talked to him a few times, and at some point he failed to understand my intention to obtain my own lawyer, and he took it upon himself to resolve the case without my permission. It's quite possible that what he did was technically legal, however it is clear to me that it shouldn't have been; yes, he was a trained and qualified lawyer, but he was NOT representing my wishes or what I perceived to be my self-interest.

    Last edited by Adam Rinkleff; 10-13-2007 at 09:20 AM.
  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    St. Odo of Cluny Parish
    Quote Originally Posted by Curt581 View Post
    So... let me get this straight.

    You were accused of a crime.

    You spoke to an attorney.

    The attorney entered a plea without your knowledge or consent.

    Now you're saying that you never actually hired the attorney to represent you?

    Why didn't you appear on the scheduled court date, when this plea was heard?

    How bout this.... why don't you post what you were originally charged with, including statute or ordnance code number.
    I guess you axed one too many questions!

    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
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