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Hammer O'Justice
Hammer O'Justice, Criminal Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  9 years legal experience, primarily in criminal justice
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Since the prosecutor can threaten to indict a relative of a

Resolved Question:

Since the prosecutor can threaten to indict a relative of a defendant to obtain a guilty plea and that not be considered coercion, what happens if the defendant has entered into a written plea agreement, accepted by the court, and the prosecutor decides to change terms of the agreement AFTER it's acceptance and the defendant doesn't agree. These terms are never mentioned in open court or during plea negotiations prior to it's acceptance. The prosecutor then indicts a relative to force the defendant to accept these terms. Is that acceptable?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 3 years ago.
Hello.

Ordinarily a person could withdraw their plea if the terms of the agreement are unilaterally changed by one of the parties (ie the prosecutor), but it sounds like he agreed to the terms of the plea afterward, although it could be argued he was coerced. Courts have basically held that using threats against other individuals is not per se unconstitutional, but it can help show that a plea was not voluntary because it was made under duress. It does not automatically result in the plea getting thrown out, but it can weigh against the plea. If it has been less than 21 days since his plea, he can try to file a motion to withdraw the plea to correct a manifest injustice.
http://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2010/title-19-2/chapter-18/19-2-296/

If the 21 days has passed but the time for appeal has not passed, then he can appeal based on the involuntariness of the plea.

If both those time periods have passed, he may be eligible to apply for other forms of post conviction relief if he is still incarcerated.
Hammer O'Justice, Criminal Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4004
Experience: 9 years legal experience, primarily in criminal justice
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