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State v. Trang

April 14, 1997

STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
SENH VA TRANG, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 95-1-03600-3. Date filed: 10/20/95. Judge signing: Hon. Leroy McCullough.

PER CURIAM. Senh Va Trang appeals his conviction for second degree possession of stolen property, arguing that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. We conclude that Trang entered his plea voluntarily and was not denied effective assistance of counsel and, therefore, affirm.

On July 5, 1995, Trang pled guilty to second degree possession of stolen property. Before doing so, he told the court he understood that the standard range in his case was based upon his current offense and his criminal history, and that if it was discovered that he had additional crimes in his past, his standard range could go up, but he could not withdraw his guilty plea. He also said he was making his plea freely and voluntarily.

Trang's statement on plea of guilty also explained that his standard sentence range was based upon the crime charged and his criminal history.

The form stated his standard sentence range might increase if he were convicted of any new crimes before sentencing or if any additional criminal history were discovered, but that his plea would still be binding.

In his plea agreement, Trang agreed that the attached sentence scoring form and prosecutor's understanding of his criminal history were accurate and complete. The scoring form did not show that he had any other current offenses.

The trial court accepted Trang's guilty plea after concluding it was made knowingly and voluntarily:

After carefully questioning Mr. Trang and spending a lot of time going over this, you asked a lot of questions of your counsel and the court does find Mr. Trang, indeed, you do know what you are doing here today, you have asked articulate questions and you show a lot of confidence in court and I find you understand the state of the charge and that you made a knowing and intelligent and a voluntary waiver of your right to trial. Also Mr. Trang the court finds there is a factual basis for this plea . . .

The court, therefore, does accept your plea[.]

On August 23, 1995, Trang moved to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel, lack of voluntariness, and that substantial Justice was not done. During the hearing on the motion, he asked that his plea be withdrawn because his counsel had not explained the use of his conviction in a subsequent trial or its effect on his offender score. Trang apparently had been arraigned on an assault charge five days after pleading guilty to possession of stolen property. Trang's motion was denied and he appeals.

Guilty pleas may be withdrawn in accordance with CrR 4.2(f):

The court shall allow a defendant to withdraw the defendant's plea of guilty whenever it appears that the withdrawal is necessary to correct a manifest inJustice.

A manifest inJustice is one that is obvious. *fn1 Two examples of a manifest inJustice are an involuntary plea and the lack of effective assistance of counsel. *fn2

A defendant's plea must have been entered intelligently and voluntarily to satisfy due process. *fn3 CrR 4.2(d) further ensures the voluntariness of pleas: *fn4

The court shall not accept a plea of guilty, without first determining that it is made voluntarily, competently and with an understanding of the nature of the charge and the consequences of the plea. The court shall not enter a judgment upon a plea of guilty ...


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