GULITY PLEA: DENTON V. COMMONWEALTH (COA 8/3/07)

DENTON V. COMMONWEALTH
CRIMINAL:  GUILTY PLEA AND SUBSEQUENT CHANGE IN THE LAW (JUVENILES AND DEATH PENALTY)
2006-CA-000587
PUBLISHED: DENY MOTION TO STRIKE APPELLEE’S BRIEF; AFFIRMING
PANEL: BUCKINGHAM, PRISIDING; HOWARD AND STUMBO CONCUR
COUNTY JESSAMINE
DATE RENDERED: 8/3/2007

Defendant is not entitled to a new sentencing hearing following the United States Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 125 S.Ct. 1183, 161 L.Ed.2d 1 (2005), which held that execution of persons who were under the age of eighteen at the time of their offenses is unconstitutional.  Denton’s plea agreement for life without possibility of parole for 25 years for capital murder was valid.  A subsequent interpretation of the law which renders an earlier plea agreement less favorable to a defendant does not entitle the defendant to a new sentencing hearing, as “[p]lea agreements, the Supreme Court has long instructed, may waive constitutional or statutory rights then in existence as well as those that courts may recognize in the future.” United States v. Bradley, 400 F.3d 459, 463 (6th Cir. 2005).

Digested by Scott C. Byrd

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