Commonwealth v. Jackson and Commonwealth v. Denson, Kentucky Supreme Court, to be published (9/28/17):
The Supreme Court held that the new ten-year lookback provision of the DUI statute (KRS 189A.010) does apply to even those defendants who have prior convictions more than five years old that had already “expired” under the prior version of the statute.
Re: the argument the Commonwealth was violating contract law by not honoring the five-year lookback periods specified in the defendants’ prior plea deals, the Court held it is not reasonable for a defendant pleading guilty under the agreement to infer the future ramifications of his conviction would cease after five years. From the language employed in the plea agreement, a reasonable person could not construe the intent of the boilerplate language parroting the statutory range of penalties for a DUI conviction as a promise by the Commonwealth limiting the future effect of the conviction so as to immunize the defendant forever thereafter from future legislative modifications of the lookback period.
The Court also found the amendment to the statute does not violate ex post facto principles (“they are not charged with a crime that was legal when committed but was rendered illegal by the 2016 amendment”) and Boykin does not bar application (“[t]he fact that subsequent legislative measures may unforeseeably alter the consequences and effects of the criminal conviction does not take the plea retrospectively outside the scope of the Boykin requirements”).