Franklin County plea upheld PDF Print E-mail
Written by SUE BOTSFORD, Contributing Writer   
Saturday, April 07, 2007

PLATTSBURGH — A conviction in Franklin County Court has been upheld by a state appeals court.
William L. Roberts III, 28, pleaded guilty in September 2005 to first-degree reckless endangerment, a felony, and driving while intoxicated.
According to the decision by the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, Roberts pleaded guilty to both charges with a recommendation from the district attorney that he be sentenced to two to four years in prison. Judge Robert Main made no commitment to a sentence at that time.
Sentencing was deferred to allow Roberts to participate in a Drug Court program. If he successfully completed the program, he was to be allowed to withdraw his felony plea and plead guilty to a misdemeanor.
He failed to complete the program and was sentenced to three to six years in prison.
On his appeal, Roberts contends he was denied effective assistance of counsel and that Main improperly denied his motion to withdraw his plea, which, he says, was not knowingly and voluntarily given.
The appeals court rejected the argument that the plea was not proper because documents he signed at the time stated he pleaded guilty to a felony.
The judge told Roberts at the time of the plea that he was pleading to a Class D felony, which carried a potential maximum sentence of seven years, emphasizing the two-to-four-year sentence was a recommendation.
Roberts told the court at the time that his plea was voluntary, so Main properly denied his motion to withdraw the plea, the justices ruled.
As to his attorney, the appeals court said the lawyer originally negotiated a very favorable plea and therefore represented his client well.
According to Department of Corrections records, Roberts is serving his sentence at Willard Drug Treatment Camp in Seneca County and is eligible for release in September.



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