Friday, February 23, 2018

KYCOA - Evans - Sentencing/Parole Eligibility

Garfield Evans v.Commonwealth, 2016-CA-1632, to be published-palpable error in sentencing

Mr. Evans was convicted of three counts of third degree assault. During the sentencing phase, a probation and parole officer testified that Mr. Evans would be eligible for parole in 3 years if he received the maximum sentence of 15 years. In closing, the Commonwealth told the jury that Mr. Evans was “only looking at three years to serve,” if he was given the maximum sentence of 15 years. During deliberation the jurors sent the trial court a question asking how many years Mr. Evans would actually serve if they gave him a 12 year sentence. The trial court declined to answer. 

The Court of Appeals found that the Commonwealth’s misrepresentation resulted in palpable error and remanded for a new sentencing. Mr. Evans was represented by Erin Hoffman Yang on appeal.

Monday, February 19, 2018

KYSC - Patton - Guity plea

Commonwealth v. Patton, 2016-SC-425-DG, to be published.
The Court found Mr. Patton’s post-jury verdict guilty plea was knowing and voluntary. The Court of Appeals had previously found the plea involuntary based on the proximity of the trial court telling Mr. Patton he would have the right to appeal from the jury’s verdict and the court telling Mr. Patton he could not appeal as part of the plea colloquy.

Contributed by Euva Blandford

KYSC - Caudill - self-defense instruction

Commonwealthv. Caudill, 2016-SC-419-DG, to be published.
Wanton Endangerment and Self-Defense.

Self-protection is not a defense to conduct, to wit: wanton endangerment, that affects innocent bystanders, even though a defendant may be privileged to act in self-defense against his target. In this case, the instructions stated the jury could find Mr. Caudill guilty if they found his act of shooting a gun at his target was a wanton act placing a named third party at risk of serious physical injury. The instruction also required the jury to find Mr. Caudill was not acting in self-defense with regard to the name third party. The Kentucky Supreme Court found the “not acting in self-defense” as to the third party portion of the instruction was wrong. However, the Court found the error was harmless. 

Contributed by Euva Blandford