Simonsen v. Premo

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Post-Conviction Relief
  • Date Filed: 12-24-2014
  • Case #: A149229
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Haselton, C.J. for the Court; Garrett, P.J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Advice to plead guilty in a capital case without first securing a guarantee that the State will not seek the death penalty is not categorically inadequate assistance of counsel.

Simonsen plead guilty to aggravated murder and was sentenced to death. He appealed after his petition for post-conviction relief was dismissed. Simonsen argued on appeal that his trial counsel was constitutionally inadequate when counsel advised pleading guilty without first securing a guarantee that the State would not seek the death penalty. The Court held advising a defendant to plead guilty without securing such a guarantee is not categorically inadequate assistance of counsel, and that giving such advice in this case was not inadequate assistance. Further, the record did not support Simonsen’s claims, especially considering his lack of credibility. Affirmed.

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