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Allen v. Murphy

Supreme Court of West Virginia

March 23, 2018

Raymond Allen, Petitioner Below, Petitioner
v.
John T. Murphy, Warden, Huttonsville Correctional Center, Respondent Below, Respondent

          Fayette County 16-C-277-H

          MEMORANDUM DECISION

         Petitioner Raymond Allen, pro se, appeals the April 21, 2017, order of the Circuit Court of Fayette County denying his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Respondent John T. Murphy, Warden, Huttonsville Correctional Center, by counsel Gordon L. Mowen, II, filed a summary response in support of the circuit court's order. Petitioner filed a reply.

         The Court has considered the parties' briefs and the record on appeal. The facts and legal arguments are adequately presented, and the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument. Upon consideration of the standard of review, the briefs, and the record presented, the Court finds no substantial question of law and no prejudicial error. For these reasons, a memorandum decision affirming the circuit court's order is appropriate under Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure.

         In May of 2000, a Fayette County grand jury indicted petitioner on 122 counts of third-degree sexual assault. J.B. Rees, then Chief Public Defender, was appointed to represent petitioner. Subsequently, petitioner entered into a plea agreement, whereby he agreed to plead guilty to twelve counts of third-degree sexual assault. In exchange, the State agreed to dismiss the remaining 110 counts against petitioner in Fayette County and to dismiss similar charges against petitioner in Webster County involving the same victims. Petitioner entered his guilty pleas at a July 25, 2000, hearing. However, on October 24, 2000, petitioner filed a pro se motion to withdraw his guilty pleas. Also, Mr. Rees filed a motion requesting that he be allowed to withdraw as petitioner's attorney. The circuit court granted Mr. Rees' motion to withdraw and appointed Anthony Salvatore to represent petitioner.

         According to Mr. Salvatore, he reviewed petitioner's file immediately following his receipt of the same and requested a transcript of the July 25, 2000, plea hearing. Mr. Salvatore first met with petitioner on November 1, 2000, and the two had a "fairly lengthy" discussion regarding the pro se motion to withdraw petitioner's guilty pleas. Petitioner and Mr. Salvatore "discussed the underlying facts of the case, the nature of the charges against him, and his concerns concerning the plea[s] which he had entered, and his concerns with the effectiveness of his prior counsel." As a result of this discussion, petitioner informed Mr. Salvatore that he no longer wanted to withdraw his guilty pleas. However, Mr. Salvatore advised petitioner that he had not yet received the plea hearing transcript and that he "wanted to make sure that [the circuit court] adequately complied with Rule 11 of the West Virginia Rules of [Criminal] Procedure" and adequately safeguarded his "West Virginia constitutional and United States constitutional rights." Mr. Salvatore received the plea hearing transcript, reviewed it, and advised petitioner that his guilty pleas were "in all respects proper" and that "it was in [petitioner's] best interest to ask [the circuit court] to ignore or withdraw" the pro se motion to withdraw his pleas. Petitioner agreed with that advice and Mr. Salvatore filed a notice to withdraw the motion to withdraw petitioner's guilty pleas on November 13, 2000.

         At a November 15, 2000, hearing, the circuit court placed petitioner under oath to confirm Mr. Salvatore's representations regarding the withdraw of the motion to withdraw his guilty pleas:

Q. Have you heard everything your lawyer has just said to me here today?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And[, ] has he correctly reported to me his meeting with you?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Has he correctly reported to me what you have directed him to tell me?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are you fully and completely satisfied with this lawyer?
A. Yes, sir.
****
Q. . . . Your lawyer says and I know it to be so, because I can see from here his copy, and I have the original where he got a full and complete transcript of the entry of your guilty pleas on July 25, 2000. And[, ] did he talk to you about that?
A. Yes, ...

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