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dkennedy, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 6009
Experience:  J.D. degree, 15 years practice
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If a written plea agreement is illegal and unenforceable, is

Resolved Question:

If a written plea agreement is illegal and unenforceable, is the plea itself enforceable even though such enforcement breaches the illegal plea?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  dkennedy replied 6 years ago.



I would like to help you with this, but I need some clarification. I do not understand what you are saying at all.


If the plea agreement is illegal, is it enforceable?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I entered into a specific plea agreement, some written some verbal. My court records indicate what I'm telling you.
The vebal aspect was the sentence;
I would be sentenced to 10 years at hard labor
8 years suspended
2 years in prision, no parole, probation, or suspension of sentence
with credit for time spent in actual custody(Statev.Converse 864 S0.2d 803; pre-trail home incareration is acutal custody with repect to jail credit) with good time (although illegal)
Upon release 5 years probation with specific conditions
The written aspect contains plea agreement forms,
They state that I must register as a sex offender for 10 years, they are signed by the judge, myself, my attorneys. They are apart of the record, the state made no objection at when reviewing them, nor have they ever.
The date of the Plea was October 12, 2006

I filed various motions to enforce the plea, and judicial reviews trying to enforce the plea.

Breach of plea issuses
The state gave some pretrail house arrest credit but not all (654 days missing)(3 days applied)
The state applied some jail credit but not all (3 days missing)(73 days applied)
Failure to allow good time as required by La R.S. 15:571.3 (B)
* Conflicts with La R.S. 15:537 as applied to me
** The confliction was fixed after my sentence was executed by an act of legislature placing 15:537 into 15:571.3
The imposition of house arrest every Halloween absent specific instuctions to do so by the court
Not allowing the defendant to complete a sex offender prevention course as requied by the probation conditions (It can never be completed)
Imposition of fee that were not court ordered, $165.00
Failure to uphold sex offender registration and notification condtions

Case law sides in my favor, if I plead to a specifc sentence or agreement the state is bound to follow that agreement to the tee, and I can enforce it via the court system.
My problem comes into play when the plea agreement is illegal, case law, says it is an absolute nullity, and can be withdrawn or nullified, but enforcement is not an option (Conflicts with Santobello v. New York but still sound law as Santobello is a legal agreement).

I've filed motions on this issue,i've had hearings held without me being present, I've never been notified of hearings , all no hearing motions were dismissed. Judicial reviews pointed to the sentencing court for relief, the sentencing court point to the Judicial review court for relief, the appealate courts refuse to hear the case, by appeal and by writ.

How can the state enforce a conviction that rests upon a plea that isnt enforceable because the agreement that was the object of the plea of guilty is an absolute nullity, even when the case law favors me?

Expert:  dkennedy replied 6 years ago.

Hello again,


The short answer to your question is that an illegal sentence is not enforceable. But I always say that people can do anything they want until you stop them. I cannot tell from your facts what might be non-conforming with your sentence and what is not. Certain fees and fines can be civilly imposed after a person is convicted. For instance, some states require a certain fee be paid in order to cover the cost of probation. Other fines are court costs and are not a part of the sentence. Rules and regulations of the prison system, or correctional department are not a part of the sentence, but natually come up.


This being said, an illegal sentence can be challenged through a postconviction action or in some cases, a federal habeas corpus action.

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