In many criminal cases, it makes sense for the defendant to enter into a plea agreement in exchange for a reduced sentence or lesser charges. Any plea agreement must be entered into knowingly and voluntarily, and if it is not, a defendant may have grounds to file an appeal. The basis for challenging a plea agreement was the topic of a recent Michigan opinion that was issued in a case in which the defendant pleaded guilty to theft and fraud. If you are accused of fraud or any other crime, it is smart to speak to an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney regarding your rights.
The Defendant’s Agreement
It is reported that the defendant was charged with theft of government funds, student loan fraud, and numerous other crimes. She entered a guilty plea pursuant to a plea agreement she made with the prosecution. She then appealed the judgment in her case, averring that she had a right to appeal the timing of her sentence and the manner in which it was to be served. The government moved to dismiss her appeal, arguing that she expressly waived her right to file an appeal. After reviewing the agreement, the court ruled in favor of the government and dismissed her appeal.
Assessing the Validity of Plea Waivers Under Michigan Law
The court explained that criminal defendants might waive their right to an appeal as part of their plea agreements, but any such waiver must be voluntary and knowing. In the subject case, the defendant did not argue that her waiver was not voluntary or knowing but instead asserted that the waiver did not include challenges to the timing of her sentence or the manner in which it was to be served. Continue Reading ›