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Illinois Personal Injury & Criminal Defense / Blog / Criminal Defense / Defendant Charged with Criminal Sexual Assault Attempts to Withdraw Guilty Plea

Defendant Charged with Criminal Sexual Assault Attempts to Withdraw Guilty Plea


In the case of People v. Smith, the defendant was charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault as well as one count of unlawful restraint following an incident with an unnamed victim. The defendant initially told the court that he intended to rely on a defense of consent. The state rebutted this defense by presenting the testimony of another alleged victim whom the original victim met while in county jail. This victim would testify that the defendant had similarly sexually assaulted her. The state had requested additional time to perform DNA testing on bite marks found on the victim’s body. The results of the DNA test proved inconclusive.

At this point, the prosecution and defense counsel met and negotiated a plea agreement. The defendant would plead guilty to a single count of criminal sexual assault and the sentencing range would be capped at 15 years. Criminal sexual assault is a Class X felony which is punishable by a maximum of 30 years. The judge said that it would likely sentence the defendant to 8 years if he accepted the plea. The defendant decided to accept the plea agreement. In exchange, he gave up his right to a trial, to call witnesses on his own behalf, the right to appeal, and was notified that he would be required to register as a sex offender upon pleading guilty to the crimes alleged. By pleading guilty, the defendant’s attorneys agreed with the factual basis of the prosecution’s case, namely, that he committed battery against the victim before forcing his penis into her mouth. The defendant was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.

The appeal 

There are some cases in which you can appeal a plea agreement. In this case, the defendant filed a motion to withdraw his plea arguing ineffective assistance of counsel. A plea must be knowing and voluntary. The defendant argued that he was intimidated out of proceeding to trial but later decided that a trial would be in his best interests. The defendant further argued that he did not fully understand what he was admitting when he pleaded guilty to the charges because he had a valid defense based on consent and that the sentence was excessive in the light of mitigating evidence.

The court denied the defendant’s motion to withdraw his plea. The defendant appealed arguing that the court never investigated his allegations that his counsel was ineffective prior to denying the motion. The state acknowledged that it erred in failing to consider the defendant’s argument and remanded the case to the circuit court for review.

The defendant made three allegations against his attorneys on the claim of ineffective assistance. He claimed that he was intimidated by the sheer number of years discussed should he proceed to trial. Second, he argued that his counsel should have moved to dismiss the case on the grounds that his right to a speedy trial was violated. Third, his attorneys never went over the inconclusive DNA evidence. Ultimately, the defendant’s motion was denied and he was stuck serving out the 8-year sentence negotiated in the plea agreement.

Talk to a Champaign, IL Criminal Defense Attorney Today 

The Champaign, IL criminal defense attorneys at Patel Law, P.C. represent the interests of those charged with serious crimes. We also help the incarcerated file criminal appeals. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your options right away.



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