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A Better Partnership
July 01, 2009

COA Opinion: Failure to Place Defendant Under Oath When Accepting a Plea Does Not Require Automatic Reversal

On June 30, 2009 the Court of Appeals approved its April 2009 opinion in People v. Plumaj, No. 285534, for publication. In April, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's granting of a motion to set aside a defendant's guilty and nolo contendre pleas to various offenses. The trial court concluded that because the defendant was not placed under oath, the oath requirement of MCR 6.203(A) had been violated and the pleas needed to be set aside. The Court of Appeals disagreed. It concluded the legal question for accepting a plea is whether it was understanding, voluntary, and accurate. Thus, the trial court erred by setting aside the pleas based solely upon failure to strictly comply with MCR 6.302(A) when it did not make any inquiry as to whether the pleas were understanding, voluntary and accurate.

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