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Martin v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

September 7, 2018

ANTHONY TERRELL MARTIN APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM LOGAN CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE TYLER L. GILL, JUDGE ACTION NO. 16-CR-00233

          BRIEF FOR APPELLANT: Steven J. Buck Frankfort, Kentucky

          BRIEF FOR APPELLEE: Andy Beshear Attorney General of Kentucky Wm. Robert Long, Jr. Assistant attorney General Frankfort, Kentucky

          BEFORE: JOHNSON, D. LAMBERT, AND J. LAMBERT, JUDGES.

          OPINION

          JOHNSON, JUDGE:

         Anthony Terrell Martin entered a conditional plea in the Logan Circuit Court to a fourth offense of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs ("DUI") within a ten-year period. Martin now appeals the judgment based upon that plea which sentenced him to four years' imprisonment. After reviewing the record in conjunction with the applicable legal authorities, we affirm the judgment of the Logan Circuit Court.

         BACKGROUND

         Martin was indicted for a series of offenses, including DUI fourth, stemming from his arrest on August 12, 2016. Prior to this current DUI charge, Martin had previously been convicted of DUI in 2007, 2015, and 2016. On April 9, 2016, certain amendments to Kentucky Revised Statutes ("KRS") 189A.010 went into effect. Pertinent to this appeal, there was a substantive change to KRS 189A.010 which extended the look-back period for enhancement of DUI penalties from a period of five years to ten years. Because Martin's August 2016 offense occurred after the effective date of the amendment to KRS 189A.010, he was charged with DUI fourth offense due to the inclusion of his 2007 DUI conviction in calculating his prior offenses.

         Martin subsequently entered a conditional guilty plea to the DUI fourth charge, reserving his right to appeal the issue of whether the ten-year look-back period could be applied for the purposes of imposing the mandatory penalty provisions of KRS 189A.010(5)(d). He now appeals from the judgment based on that plea, alleging a violation of his rights under contract law, under Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 89 S.Ct. 1709, 23 L.Ed.2d 274 (1969), and under his constitutional right to be free from the application of ex post facto laws.

          STANDARD OF REVIEW

         "Generally, plea agreements in criminal cases are contracts between the accused and the Commonwealth, and are interpreted according to ordinary contract principles." McClanahan v. Commonwealth, 308 S.W.3d 694, 701 (Ky. 2010)(citations omitted). The interpretation of a contract is a question of law to be determined de novo on appellate review. Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Inc. v. Dunaway, 490 S.W.3d 691, 695 (Ky. 2016).

         ANALYSIS

         In Commonwealth v. Jackson, 529 S.W.3d 739 (Ky. 2017), the Supreme Court of Kentucky thoroughly analyzed and rejected each of the arguments Martin advances in this appeal. Guided by the rationale set out in Jackson, we first address Martin's contract argument in which he maintains that because there was a five-year look-back period at the time his previous plea agreements were entered, those agreements were made with the understanding that the convictions based on those pleas could not be used to enhance any subsequent DUI offenses which occurred beyond a period of five years. Only Martin's 2007 DUI conviction lies outside the five-year look-back period and he argues that to allow the Commonwealth to use that conviction for purposes of enhancement of the 2016 charge violates his prior plea agreement. However, in specifically addressing that contention, the Jackson court decided otherwise:

It is also worth noting that, under the defendants' theory, a DUI defendant who had incurred the same prior DUI offenses on the same previous dates but who went to trial instead of pleading guilty would have no cognizable claim to the exemption from the 2016 amendment, while the similarly situated defendant pleading guilty would be exempted. This theory produces an absurd result, which further supports our ...

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