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LawHelpNow, Attorney/Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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I have an old dear friend that was convicted of sexual assult

Customer Question

I have an old dear friend that was convicted of sexual assult one count was due to a 17yr lieing about her age and told him she was 19 and his 14 yr old went to authories making false statements that he raped her. he has had custody of both of his daughter from babies, due to their mother being in and out of jail. we believe the mother put her up to it cuz she wanted to get custody. I have known this person for 19 yrs, as young teenagers him and siblings lived with my family. I know with out a doubt in me heart he is innocent. he had a PD for an attorney cuz his family or mine had money to get him one and the PD advised him to take the plea cuz if he goes to trial he will most llikly get 25 to life. how can i help an innocent person. an actually innocent person.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
Hello Jacustomer,

From what you have said, it appears that your friend took a plea to this charge. I do not know how much time he agreed to, but if the maximum possible risk to him if he lost at trial was a life sentence, he had to decide which he wanted more -- to take a guaranteed sentence with a penalty below 25 years or to go to trial and risk incarceration for life.

It's nice to believe that if a person is innocent it should come out that way at trial, but as you have seen many times already in press cases, sometimes innocent men do get convicted and do get life sentences.

It's almost impossible to get a plea back once a defendant has admitted his guilt and waived all of his rights in order to take a plea. That's because since a defendant is giving so much up, the judge asks a defendant a long series of questions and will not enter a plea until the defendant has said that he understands what he's given up, that he's pleading guilty because he actually is guilty, that nobody has forced or threatened him to plead guilty and that he's satisfied that his lawyer has informed him with what he needs to make the decision. This gets taken down by the official court reporter and in any motion to get his plea back, the defendant's own earlier words get used against him to deny him the relief he seeks.

However, even though his chances are near zero, he may have issues that could make his appeal or motion successful. He would need a post-conviction attorney who can try to get this matter before the judge to get the plea overturned.

There are two things I should say though: the first is that he can't just bring this motion because he changed his mind. There have to be lawful grounds for the appeal or the motion. This is what the post-conviction lawyer would have to scope out. The second is that what will happen in the best case scenario is what he wishes for -- he'll get his plea back. But that does not mean his case is over. It only means that the case is restored to what it was in the beginning. If it was reduced for purposes of the plea, that reduction goes away with the plea. What that means is he will have no more deal. He will have to go to trial on the case. And if he loses, he will be sentenced in the 25 to life range.

Is that what he really wants? If so, you can contact the state Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service and ask for a referral to a post-conviction attorney. They charge a fee of $50 for the referral, but that includes a free half hour consultation with the attorney. You can find them here:
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
still dont understand, the law works guilty till proven inocent, and if you have no money for an attorney then your stuck with out or a public defense att. who does not work for you as a private att. so there is nothing that can honestly be done. what happen with the passion of
just doing the right things. thank you but you didnt help.. thank you very much for you time
Expert:  LawHelpNow replied 5 years ago.

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