The number of criminal defendants who are challenging their waivers to their right to appeal is increasing throughout New York’s appeals courts, and appellate justices in Brooklyn are calling on trial judges to take greater care to ensure that defendants understand what they’re getting themselves into.
In a ruling upholding a 16-year prison sentence for a Queens man who pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery as part of a plea deal in which he waived his right to appeal, two justices from the Appellate Division, Second Department issued separate signed opinions in which both said that trial court judges should take extra steps to ensure that defendants are knowingly and intelligently waiving their appeal rights. The safeguard could spare the court from having to handle unnecessary litigation.
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