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People v. Mitchell

Court of Appeals of New York

June 11, 2013

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent,
v.
Robert MITCHELL, Appellant. The People of the State of New York, Respondent,
v.
Josue Deliser, Appellant.

[970 N.Y.S.2d 920] Richard M. Greenberg, Office of the Appellate Defender, New York City (Rebekah J. Pazmiño of counsel), for appellant in the first above-entitled action.

Robert T. Johnson, District Attorney, Bronx (Richard J. Ramsay, Joseph N. Ferdenzi and Peter D. Coddington of counsel), for respondent in the first above-entitled action.

Lynn W.L. Fahey, Appellate Advocates, New York City (Winston McIntosh of counsel), for appellant in the second above-entitled action.

Charles J. Hynes, District Attorney, Brooklyn (Diane R. Eisner and Leonard Joblove of counsel), for respondent in the second above-entitled action.

Page 965

OPINION

MEMORANDUM.

[993 N.E.2d 406] The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed in People v. Mitchell, and the order of the Appellate Division should be reversed and the case remitted to Supreme Court in People v. Deliser for further proceedings in accordance with this memorandum.

Page 966

People v. Mitchell

Defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in the second degree. Prior to sentencing, he filed a pro se motion to withdraw that plea, arguing, among other things, that his counsel coerced him into pleading guilty. When asked by the court if defense counsel had anything to say on defendant's behalf, counsel said: " [O]nly that I do not adopt the merits or factual assertions relative to this [motion]." Defense counsel expressed his concern to the court that if he did not respond to the motion, his silence might be deemed an acknowledgment that there was merit to the claims. In response to this concern, [993 N.E.2d 407] [970 N.Y.S.2d 921] the court indicated it would assign new counsel. The court permitted defense counsel to be heard, and defense counsel took a position contrary to defendant's claim of coercion. After a proceeding with new defense counsel, the motion was denied. The Appellate Division affirmed the judgment of conviction and sentence ( 89 A.D.3d 628, 933 N.Y.S.2d 271 [1st Dept.2011] ).

People v. Deliser

Defendant pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the second degree and robbery in the first degree in satisfaction of two indictments. He subsequently made a pro se motion to withdraw his plea in both cases, claiming that his pleas had been coerced by, among other things, defense counsel's alleged undue pressure on him. Asked for his response, defense counsel explained the actions he took on defendant's behalf. He concluded with the statement that, in his opinion, the People had " two strong cases against [defendant] and I think he made a knowing plea and I think it was in his best interest."

After reading portions of the plea minutes, the court denied defendant's motion to withdraw the pleas. The Appellate Division affirmed the judgments of conviction and sentence ( 85 A.D.3d 1047, 925 N.Y.S.2d 882 [2d Dept.2011] ) concluding, among other things, that defendant's attorney ...


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