When you enter a guilty plea, you may think that your case is pretty much over. You will be convicted of a crime and face the penalties. However, what happens if you plead guilty to a crime but you wish to take the guilty plea back? Can you withdraw your guilty plea?
You may have the opportunity to appeal your case and get your guilty plea withdrawn under certain circumstances. It may seem impossible, but a recent case proves that it can happen if you have an experienced appeals attorney fighting for you.
How an Appeal Could Allow You to Withdraw Your Guilty Plea
In a recent appeals case (U.S. v Lustig, 2016 DJDAR 7762), the defendant was arrested after he responded to an online ad for prostitution. The ad was actually placed by undercover police officers. After arresting the man, police seized multiple cellphones from his person and his vehicle.
Officers discovered evidence on the cellphones that proved the man was using the devices to arrange meetings with prostitutes. He was charged with a federal crime for using a cellphone to facilitate an act of prostitution.
During his case, the defendant’s attorneys claimed that the evidence found on his cellphones should be thrown out because authorities conducted a warrantless search to find the evidence. However, judges denied these motions to suppress the evidence, ruling that officers could conduct a warrantless search in this case because they had a “good faith belief” that their search was legal.
After the motions to suppress evidence were denied, the defendant plead guilty with the condition that he could continue appealing the case because he was subject to a potentially illegal search and seizure. He exercised his ability to appeal the case.
In a separate case two years later (Riley vs. California (2014)), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a warrantless search of a cellphone is illegal, and therefore evidence obtained from such a search should be suppressed. This Riley ruling affected the Lustig appeal.
The court in the Lustig appeal agreed that the search of the defendant’s cellphone was illegal when factoring in the Riley ruling, but reasoned that the police could have only considered the laws that were in place when the search of his cellphones occurred. Therefore, the appellate court ruled the search to be legal because officers had a good faith belief that it was legal.
However, the court ruled that when the defendant’s motions to suppress the evidence were denied, this was done in error. Therefore, the denial was reversed and the defendant’s guilty plea was vacated. The defendant now has a chance to defend himself again, but this time possibly without the evidence obtained during an illegal search.
Speak to an Experienced Appeals Attorney Today
This case proves that you should never give up if you believe that you were treated unfairly by the criminal justice system. You have a right to appeal your case, and it may not be too late for you even if you have already been convicted.
If you are interested in appealing any aspect of your case, you should contact an experienced appellate attorney right away. Our skilled lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully helping our clients appeal decisions for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, West Covina, Torrance, Victorville and San Diego, a knowledgeable Wallin & Klarich appeals attorney is available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.