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A Better Partnership
April 30, 2014

MSC rules Defendant’s motion to withdraw guilty plea after sentencing under MCR 6.310(C) must demonstrate plea proceeding error

The Michigan Supreme Court considered the application for leave to appeal the Court of Appeals’ September 26, 2013 judgment in People v. Sanford. In lieu of granting leave to appeal, the Supreme Court vacated the Court of Appeals’ judgment and reinstated the Wayne Circuit Court’s February 29, 2012 order denying the defendant’s motion to withdraw his plea. The defendant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea after he was sentenced. MCR 6.310(C) permits a defendant to withdraw a guilty plea after sentencing only if the trial court determines that there was an error in the plea proceeding that would entitle the defendant to have the plea set aside. “A defendant seeking to withdraw his or her plea after sentencing must demonstrate a defect in the plea-taking process,” People v. Brown, 492 Mich. 684, 693 (2012). Because the defendant did not base his motion on an error in the plea proceeding, the Supreme Court concluded that the Court of Appeals erred by adjudicating the defendant’s appeal. The Supreme Court noted, however, that its order is without prejudice to the defendant’s ability to file a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to MCR 6.500 et seq. raising the issues addressed in his motion to withdraw plea.

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