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Aponte v. State

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 07-10-2013
Case #: A148838
Haselton, C.J. for the Court; and Brewer, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A148838.pdf

Post-Conviction Relief: If factual findings of a post-conviction court’s ruling remain unchallenged and Defendant is unable to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that defense counsel provided ineffective legal assistance, post-conviction relief will be denied.

Defendant appealed a judgment denying post-conviction relief. Defendant was convicted of aggravated murder after he entered a no-contest plea.  On appeal, Defendant argued that he received ineffective legal assistance because his attorney failed to investigate and raise the defense of self-defense. The State responded by pointing out that the argument on appeal was based on the court’s factual findings and that Defendant was not arguing that those findings were unsupported by evidence.  The facts indicate that Defendant was aware of his rights and he understood the effect of a no-contest plea.  Defendant spoke with his attorney multiple times about investigating the defense of self-defense, which could take up to two years, and each time Defendant reiterated that he would not waive his right to be tried within the time limits of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD).  The court verified that Defendant made a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary decision to enter the plea. The Court held that because Defendant did not challenge the post-conviction court’s factual findings and because Defendant failed to establish that his attorney’s advice was incorrect or that he failed to exercise reasonable professional skill and judgment, the court did not err in denying post-conviction relief.  Affirmed.