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Son pleas guilty to a crime that never happenend

1 Answers. Asked on Jul 13th, 2017 on Criminal Law - Florida
More details to this question:
Son pleaded guilty to a lesser sex crime an due to his lack of education did not comprehend the consequences, since then I have gathered proof it was in fact a sick prank, it's been 3 yrs since the plea, what can be done to clear his name, an what can be done about the mental abuse it caused him and family
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Answered on Jul 14th, 2017 at 7:05 AM

Normally a lack of education, unless the defendant's level of comprehension/understanding/IQ is so impaired that he was legally incompetent, is not a valid legal reason to vacate a sentence and set aside a plea.  (Also, proceed with caution if you pursue this claim because the procedure for claiming incompetency could result in a defendant being in custody in a criminal forensic unit until competency is reached or regained.)  Also, when a defendant enters a plea, the judges in Florida follow a plea colloquy that is partially designed to ensure the defendant comprehends what he/she is doing, the consequences, and that, despite that, wants to proceed with the plea and sentencing.  So, although, there may be some slim possibility of vacating a sentence and setting aside a plea, the possibility is very slim, restricted, and not without more potential risks that may result in more onerous conditions than the defendant currently is facing.

As to the other matter you mention:  "a sick prank," that could be grounds for a Motion for Post-Conviction Relief to vacate the sentence and set aside the plea based on "newly discovered evidence" (i.e., it was all an untrue prank) that was discovered within the last two years -- and could not have been discovered previously using du diligence.  A Post-Conviction Relief Motion must be filed within two years after learning of the newly discovered evidence -- or it's too late to do it.  However, that doesn't make the case go away.  It just puts the defendant back in the court system where he was before he pled and was sentenced.  If the state, at that point, can confirm that the victim and other witnesses lied -- and it was all a prank, the state could decide to drop the case.  But there is no guarantee of that happening.  If the state pursues the case, the Defendant may find he/she may have to proceed to trial and/or plead as charged to the judge without the benefit of a plea bargain or reduced charge.  If convicted, the Defendant faces the possible maximum sentence on the original charge/s -- or on whatever charge/s end in a guilty verdict or plea.        



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