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Counsel Ineffective in Not Informing of Lifetime Community Supervision

In the summer of 2010, the Tennessee Supreme Court released an opinion in the case of Marcus Ward v. State, which held that it was constitutional error when a trial court failed to advise a defendant pleading guilty about the lifetime community supervision requirement which is a mandatory consequence of conviction of many sex crimes. The Tennessee Supreme Court has recently also added that failure of counsel to advise a client of the lifetime community supervision requirement is deficient performance of counsel. Calvert v. State, M 2008-00426-SC-R11-PC (Tenn. 4-28-2011).

In Marcus Ward v. State, 315 S.W.3d 461 (Tenn. 2010) a guilty plea was challenged on the basis that the Defendant was not made aware of the sexual offender registry requirements or of the lifetime community supervision requirement, both of which were statutory consequences of his conviction. The Court ruled that the sex offender registry requirements were collateral and regulatory and there was no constitutional need for the Defendant to be advised of them at a guilty plea hearing. However, the Court found the lifetime community supervision requirement to be punitive. As a direct, punitive part of the sentence, a trial court must ensure that a Defendant is informed of it before accepting a guilty plea.

In the Calvert opinion released this spring, the Court adds that it is also deficient performance of counsel to not advise a Defendant accepting a guilty plea of the lifetime community supervision consequence (where the conviction requires it as a consequence).

In considering whether to accept a plea bargain agreement, an accused person should be aware of the consequences of any convictions that will result from the plea agreement, as well as the potential consequences of the charges for which the person would otherwise face trial.

For more information on the consequences of specific criminal convictions, contact Hindman & Associates.

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