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Plea Bargain – Prosecutorial Compliance

State v. Christopher Jones, 2009AP2761-CR, District 1, 9/28/10

court of appeals decision (3-judge, not recommended for publication); for Jones: Jeremy C. Perri, SPD, Milwaukee Appellate; BiC; Resp.; Reply

The court rejects a claim of an “end-run” around the plea bargain, which limited the State’s recommendation to 10 years imprisonment while leaving the “configuration” of confinement and supervision to judicial discretion, based on prosecutorial comments:

  • the “whole matter was “aggravated by the defendant’s record,” some of which the State wasn’t aware of when it struck the bargain [it was clear that the unknown priors were “minor matters”];
  • referencing with apparent approval the PSI characterization of Jones as “extremely dangerous” [“the facts bear out that opinion,” in other words Jones indisputably was dangerous]; and
  • advocating a “fairly lengthy” prison sentence “such as” 10 years [10 years is “fairly lengthy,” therefore that charcertization wasn’t “less than neutral”].

Leading end-run cases, State v. Williams, 2002 WI 1, 249 Wis. 2d 492, 637 N.W.2d 733; and State v. Poole, 131Wis. 2d 359, 394 N.W.2d 909 (Ct. App. 1986), distinguished. The court also reiterates that failure to object to a claimed breach of the plea bargain forfeits the issue, which then must be raised under rubric of ineffective assistance of counsel.

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