14 February 2011

Collateral, Eventual Consequences

Judge Worcester also relies on Rule 7C:6(a) to bolster his opinion.
A court shall not accept a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to any misdemeanor charge punishable by confinement in jail without first determining that the plea is made voluntarily with an understanding of the nature of the charge and the consequences of the plea. Before accepting a plea to such a charge, the court shall inform the accused that such a plea constitutes a waiver of the right to confront one's accusers and the right against compulsory self-incrimination.
The pertinent part is that the court can't accept a guilty plea unless the defendant understands the consequences of the plea. Judge Worcester stretches this to the point that it reaches ineffective assistance of counsel under the right to counsel in the 6th Amendment. The problem is that the second sentence, not included in the Worcester opinion, indicates the consequences which are being spoken of are not collateral, eventual consequences, but immediate trial court consequences. This is also common sense as the immediate concern addressed by this rule is to insure a procedurally fair hearing and it is impossible for a defense attorney or judge to conceive and warn of all possible collateral, eventual consequences.

(Post 3 of 4: final post at 9 a.m. Tuesday)

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