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Counsel – Waiver; Plea-Withdrawal – Issuance of Worthless Check – Elements

State v. Kenneth B. Bonner, 2010AP1414-CR, District 1, 12/28/10

court of appeals decision (1-judge, not for publication); for Bonner: Dennis P. Coffey; case activity; Bonner BiC; State Resp.

Counsel – Waiver

The trial court’s waiver colloquy omitted two required components: assurance that the defendant made a deliberate choice to proceed without counsel, and was aware of the difficulties and dangers of self-representation, ¶17.

The trial court compounded the problem by telling Bonner it wouldn’t accept any subsequent reduction in charge, in effect coercing a guilty plea and by providing “legally incorrect information”; the mere fact Bonner had been represented by counsel (who had recently withdrawn) did not alone permit an inference that he now was making a deliberate choice to represent himself or that he appreciated the difficulties of self-representation. Id. (The court proceeds to discuss the merits of Bonner’s claim his guilty plea was unknowing, but invalid waiver of counsel itself supports plea-withdrawal, though the court doesn’t say as much.)

Plea-Withdrawal – Issuance of Worthless Check – Elements

The trial court’s erroneous advice to Bonner that his claim of lack of intent to issue a worthless check (§ 943.24(3)) was a mere mitigator and not a potential defense prevented a proper record of Bonner’s understanding of the elements. Bonner was therefore entitled to withdraw his plea, ¶¶19-20.

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