WILLIAMS V. COM.
CRIMINAL: GUILTY PLEA WITHDRAWAL
PANEL: PAISLEY PRESIDING; STUMBO, VANMETER CONCUR
DATE RENDERED: 8/31/2007
Based upon the totality of the circumstances, TC did not commit clear error in finding Williams’ guilty plea to have been validly entered, and the TC did not abuse its discretion in overruling the motion to withdraw the guilty plea. Because the theory of error being advanced on appeal was never argued to the trial court, it is not preserved for appellate review and CA declined to address it now. While it is true that Williams sent a letter to the court, the reasons given in that letter for wanting to withdraw the plea had nothing to do with confusion over the crime to which he had pled guilty or whether the trial court had established a factual basis for the plea. Williams wrote that he felt he had no choice but to plead guilty because his attorney had told him he would lose if he went to trial. Similarly, at sentencing, when the trial court asked Williams to explain why he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea he voiced two reasons, but neither was related to his current allegation. The first was that he felt he had no choice but to plead guilty and the second was that he felt it was unfair for him to be charged with this particular crime when others who commit far worse behavior are charged with the same crime. Neither Williams’ letter nor his verbal request suggested to the trial court that his guilty plea was involuntary because he was confused about the crime to which he was admitting guilt or that the trial court had failed to establish a factual basis for the plea.
Digested by Scott C. Byrd – Olgin and Byrd