How to Get Wiped Out at Blind Plea

Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 1:07pm

So you're admitting to committing a crime but want the judge to consider some punishment other than that recommended by the district attorney. If you wanted to get wiped out (get greater punishment than might otherwise be justified) what would you do? (To be clear: DON'T DO ANY OF THIS.)

1. Be unrepentant. If a defendant has plead guility under oath to the Court then they have admitted fully to the state's essential allegations. When the defendant comes on for a blind plea (which leaves punishment to the discretion of the judge within the range of punishment and probation options specified by the statutes) and then DENIES to any extent their fault for the crime they already admitted to committing then the judge is very likely to consider the apparent lack of remorse in determining the sentence to the detriment of the defendant.

2. Brag. Indicating to the Court in any way that you have the power to contine inflicting any sort of emotional pain on the victim or the prosecutors or the court or the defense counsel ends up a lot like being unrepentant. Bragging shows the court in unmistakable terms that the defendant deserves the full measure of punishment that may be provided for by law.

3. Hostility. Being irritable in court is generally a bad idea (being too cheerful is also a bad idea) unless you are the judge (and it isn't really great then). Remember, there is always a bigger fish and the bigger fish is always hungry. Indicating that you are ready to fight at your own sentencing for a crime you have admitted to is another poor idea that will often result in getting wiped out at sentencing.

4. Admit to Having Committed a Horrifying Crime. If your plan after committing a rape, sexually abusing a child (or anyone else really) or torturing a person to death is to admit guilt and fall upon the mercy of the court then you have a bad plan. This plan may be better than it sounds but that depends on the options realistically available. It would probably be better to use what little leverage you have in negotiating a plea agreement with the state than to irritate the district attorney by agreeing that you committed the crime but angling for lesser punishment with the judge. The judge has incentive to go easy on horrifying crimes, but the district attorney has limited resources for each case and this can sometimes amount to leverage in negotiating a sentence.

So... what can you do to prevent being wiped at sentencing on a blind plea?

1. Own up to the Crime. If you admit to guilt then you should do so fully. Apologizing for what you did expresses remorse with humility in the face of punishment. The systems wants to believe that all offenders can be rehabilitated. Upon any plea of guilty the defendant is well-advised to behave like someone who believes they can be rehabilitated.

2. Present your Plan. Present, as best as you possibly can, your plan for how you are going to fix yourself and fix what you caused. 

Share this