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Guilty Pleas – Required Knowledge – Direct and Collateral Consequences – Maximum Punishment

State v. Kenneth V. Harden, 2005 WI App 252
For Harden: Ralph Sczygelski

Issue/Holding: Misinformation with respect to the maximum punishment (defendant was told the maximum was 19 years, 6 months when the correct maximum was 16 years) necessarily renders the guilty plea invalid, without regard to whether the misinformation affected the decision to plead guilty, ¶¶5-6, effectively overruling State v. Paul Delao Quiroz, 2002 WI App 52, on this point:

¶5        In this case, the State must prove that Harden knew the correct maximum sentence despite being given erroneous information at every stage of this proceeding. The State presented no evidence that Harden knew the maximum sentences the court could impose. Instead, it persuaded the trial court that Harden was required to show that his plea decisions were affected by the misinformation. That argument was specifically rejected in State v. Bartelt, 112 Wis. 2d 467, 484, 334 N.W.2d 91 (1983). While some language in Bartelt was subsequently withdrawn in Bangert, [1] the holding that a defendant need not show that the misinformation “caused” the plea has never been withdrawn. The precedent is binding on this court. See Nommensen v. American Continental Ins. Co., 2000 WI App 230, ¶16, 239 Wis. 2d 129, 619 N.W.2d 137.

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