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Plea Bargains — Breach: Limiting Defense Presentation at Sentencing

State v. Shomari L. Robinson, 2001 WI App 127, PFR filed 5/7/01
For Robinson: Joseph L. Sommers

Issue: Whether the plea bargain was breached when the defendant wasn’t allowed to present certain evidence at sentencing.


¶16 … (T)he trial court did not clearly err in finding that the plea agreement called for argument by the parties, and at most, a very limited presentation of evidence at sentencing regarding the nature of the sexual assault.

¶17. Given that the parties’ agreement called for the right to argue and to present limited evidence at sentencing regarding the nature of the sexual assault, we conclude, as did the trial court, that the agreement was not breached. Robinson gave his version of what occurred on the night in question, and his counsel argued at length as to why his client’s statement was more credible than the victim’s preliminary hearing testimony. Although the court specifically declined to view the car proffered at sentencing, it did not deny Robinson the opportunity to present evidence other than that relating to the condition of the proffered car. In fact, the court specifically offered to consider testimony from any persons who were present in the schoolyard at the time of the assault.

Court stresses, ¶18, that agreement didn’t allow defendant to introduce “any and all evidence he wished at sentencing, regardless of its relevance and probative value”; and, in any event, “an agreement could not supplant the court’s exercise of discretion in setting the permissible bounds of the sentencing hearing[.]”

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