“Last year the Supreme Court ruled that defendants have a right to effective counsel even when rejecting a plea offer, and we're going to see a lot of appeals testing that decision out.
(PRWEB) December 11, 2013
Convicted fraudster Tom Petters entered an unusual plea at an appeal hearing last month. Petters allegedly claims his original defense team never informed him of a plea bargain he was offered, but defense lawyer Kevin DeVore says the argument has little chance of succeeding.
Petters was busted in 2008 for masterminding a vast $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (10.24.2013). He pleaded not guilty at his 2009 trial but was sentenced to 50 years in prison by US District Judge Richard Kyle according to the case summary (Appellate Case: 10-1843-- Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota vs. Thomas Joseph Petters-[Docket Nos. 196, 400, 401].
Judge Kyle also heard the appeal case, in which Petters said he was never informed of an offer to take 30 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea.
“This is going to be part of a larger trend,” said DeVore, the founder of DeVore Law Office. “Last year the Supreme Court ruled that defendants have a right to effective counsel even when rejecting a plea offer, and we're going to see a lot of appeals testing that decision out.”
But DeVore does not believe Petters' case is likely to win him a shorter sentence.
“In theory, if he had been deceived by his defense team he'd have a chance,” DeVore said. “But the evidence was very strong. Three of his former counsel members came out against him and testified that he had been informed of the offer. They have no incentive to lie.”
DeVore said that courts now officially record plea bargain offers to prevent such claims in the future.
Court documents here: http://www.justice.gov/usao/mn/petters.html
About Kevin DeVore:
Kevin W. DeVore is an experienced Minneapolis criminal defense attorney and founder of the DeVore Law Office. He has achieved numerous courtroom victories for his clients. Mr. DeVore has been named a SuperLawyer for nine consecutive years and has one of the strongest success records of any lawyer in Minnesota. He can be contacted at:
30 East 7th Street
St. Paul, MN 55101