Criminal Case Summary

Notes on My Criminal Case

Wm. Patrick Middleton

The issues in my case are quite simple.

1. I entered into an agreement with the commonwealth. I pled guilty to 2nd degree felony-murder, robbery, and kidnapping in exchange for the following:

  1. The Commonwealth agreed to quash any pending charges against me (there were two-a robbery and escape from Lewisburg)
  2. The Commonwealth would work it all out with the federal authorities that I did my time in the Commonwealth of PA.
  3. The Commonwealth would run my sentence concurrent with the federal sentence I was serving at the time of my escape.

2. The plea agreement was subsequently violated when the Commonwealth failed to get the federal escape charge dropped. At my colloquy, they clearly stated that they have been in touch with the feds and everything had been worked out. I was later taken back to federal court and received a five year sentence running consecutive to my life sentence. I had made it clear to the judge that I would not be pleading guilty if it weren’t for the circumstances of the plea bargain. It was clear to me that I thought that by pleading guilty, I was putting all other charges behind me.

3. One issue that was raised on my direct appeal to try to get the plea withdrawn was the guilty plea was defective because the judge failed to inform me of any of the elements of a jury trial. The Superior Court ruled that this didn’t matter because I had received a “favorable plea bargain” in the I received a 10 to 20 year sentence for 2nd degree murder. They were completely mistaken, though, as I had received a life sentence. Case law after case law says that when the guilty plea colloquy fails to show that a defendant was informed of the three crucial elements of a jury trial, the only remedy is to allow him to withdraw his plea and start over.

4. In 1992(1994?), I went back to court on a P.C.R.A This time we argued the fact that the Commonwealth had violated the terms of the plea agreement. They even acknowledged it at the hearing, but they claim that too much time had elapsed and they would be prejudiced if the judge ruled in my favor. The judge agreed. The Superior Court concurred. My attorney died as we were filing our Supreme Court appeal.

5. The only way I see a plea that would work would be if someone could talk to the District Attorney and get him to allow me to file a P.C.R.A., withdraw my plea at the hearing, and enter a new plea that would get me out. We have the legal issues for the DA to justify doing this. It almost worked in ’99.

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