APPEAL FROM BARREN CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE PHIL PATTON, JUDGE ACTION NO. 11-CR-00201
BRIEF FOR APPELLANT: Shannon Dupree Assistant Public Advocate
BRIEF FOR APPELLEE: Jack Conway, Todd D. Ferguson Assistant Attorney General
BEFORE: CAPERTON, COMBS, AND LAMBERT, JUDGES.
Joseph Michael Carrigan appeals the judgment of the Barren Circuit Court which found him guilty of nineteen criminal offenses and sentenced him to a total of ten-years' incarceration. After our review, we vacate and remand.
On May 26, 2011, a grand jury indicted Carrigan of nineteen counts of various felonies and driving misdemeanors. Carrigan appeared in Barren District Court for arraignment on June 27, 2011. At that time, he told the court that he was trying to hire an attorney. Carrigan also stated to the court that he did not understand the first-degree robbery charge. The court advised him to consult with counsel. The Department of Public Advocacy (DPA) represented Carrigan at the arraignment. On July 11, 2011, Carrigan appeared in Barren Circuit Court. His counsel argued for bond reduction and then withdrew from representing Carrigan.
Two days later, Carrigan informed the court that he was confident that he would hire someone but he did not know exactly when he would have counsel. On August 1, 2011, the Commonwealth advised the court that it had extended plea offers to Carrigan and to his co-defendant. Carrigan was still not represented by counsel at this point. An attorney informed the court that he had been retained by Carrigan's father to merely review the case.
Two weeks later, that same attorney informed the court that he had declined to represent Carrigan. Carrigan then told the court that he intended to hire another attorney, and the court set a trial date of December 8, 2011.
On September 26, 2011, Carrigan informed the court that he was still without counsel. He stated that his family was trying to "work out the money situation." On October 17, 2011, Carrigan reported that he had spoken to an attorney but that an agreement had not been finalized. On October 31, 2011, counsel appeared in court with Carrigan, but she had not entered an appearance at that time. She also appeared with Carrigan for a pre-trial conference on December 5, 2011. The Commonwealth reported that Carrigan and his co-defendant had rejected plea offers and had proposed counter-offers.
On December 8, 2011, Carrigan entered a plea of guilty. Notably, one of the charges to which he pled was a first-degree robbery charge, which is categorized as a violent offense in Kentucky Revised Statute[s] (KRS) 439.3401(1)(l). At the date scheduled for sentencing, January 30, 2012, the court informed the Commonwealth and Carrigan's counsel that it had received a letter from Carrigan in which he expressed his desire to withdraw his guilty plea. The letter had indicated that Carrigan admitted he was guilty of crimes -- but that he did not intend to plead guilty to a violent crime. Carrigan's attorney responded by asking for some time to file the motion to withdraw the plea. The court then passed sentencing until the following week.
On February 6, 2012, Carrigan's counsel advised the court that after reviewing Carrigan's letter, she would not be filing a motion to withdraw the guilty plea. Carrigan and his father had begun their search for an attorney who would file the motion. The court once again continued the sentencing.
Carrigan appeared for sentencing again on February 20, 2012. He still had not found an attorney who was willing to file a motion to withdraw his plea. Carrigan's counsel moved to withdraw her representation, and Carrigan said that he would obtain other counsel as soon as possible. The court continued sentencing.
On March 19, 2012, Carrigan appeared for sentencing again but was still without counsel. The court informed Carrigan that as a county prisoner, he was an expense to the county; therefore, they needed to proceed with sentencing soon. Carrigan expressed that he had been displeased with his former counsel's representation and that he was ...