in the Court of Appeals 31 October 2018.
by defendant from judgment entered 11 August 2017 by Judge
Mark E. Powell in Madison County No. 15CRS050222 Superior
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney
General Jennifer T. Harrod, for the State.
Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate
Defender Katherine Jane Allen, for the defendant-appellant.
Madison County jury found Kenneth Calvin Chandler
("Defendant") guilty of first-degree sex offense
with a child and taking indecent liberties with a child.
Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial judge improperly
refused to accept a tendered guilty plea in violation of the
statutory mandate in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1023(c). We
and Procedural Background
was indicted for first-degree sex offense with a child and
indecent liberties with a child. Defendant reached a plea
agreement with the State and signed a standard AOC-CR-300
Transcript of Plea to resolve these charges on February 6,
2017. Defendant's Transcript of Plea was also signed by
his attorney and the prosecutor.
one of the Transcript of Plea, there are three boxes
available to describe the type of plea a defendant is
entering: (1) guilty, (2) guilty pursuant to Alford
decision, and (3) no contest. Defendant checked that he was
two of the Transcript of Plea has standard questions
concerning the type of plea entered. In response to question
13, "Do you now personally plead guilty, [or] no contest
to the charges I just described[, ]" Defendant checked
the box marked "guilty," and answered in the
affirmative. Question 14 has subparts (a), (b), and (c). Each
subpart concerns the different pleas available to a
defendant. Subpart (a) is used with a guilty plea, (b) is for
no contest pleas, and (c) is specifically for Alford
pleas. Because Defendant was pleading guilty, in response to
the question in subpart (a), "Are you in fact guilty[,
]" Defendant again answered in the affirmative on the
Transcript of Plea.
three of the Transcript of Plea addresses the plea
arrangement made by the State. According to the Transcript of
Plea, in exchange for Defendant's guilty plea, the State
agreed to dismiss the charge of first degree sex offense.
Page three also contains signature lines for Defendant,
defense counsel, and the prosecutor. Defendant acknowledged
that the terms and conditions stated in the Transcript of
Plea were accurate. Defense counsel certified that he and
Defendant agreed to the terms and conditions stated in the
Transcript of Plea. The prosecutor's certification states
that the conditions stated in the Transcript of Plea were
agreed to by all parties for entry of the plea.
February 7, 2017, the State called Defendant's case and
indicated to the trial court that the Defendant planned to
enter a plea. The prosecutor asked defense counsel how
Defendant pleaded, and defense counsel responded,
"Pursuant to negotiations, guilty." The Transcript
of Plea was submitted to the trial court, and during the
colloquy with Defendant, the following exchange occurred:
[The Court:] Do you understand that you are pleading guilty
to the following charge: 15 CRS 50222, one count of indecent
liberties with a minor child, the date of offense is April 19
to April 20, 2015, that is a Class F felony, maximum
punishment 59 months?
[Defendant:] Yes, sir.
[The Court:] Do you now personally plead guilty to the
charges I just described?
[Defendant:] Yes, sir.
[The Court:] Are you, in fact, guilty?
[Defendant:] Yes, sir.
[The Court:] Now, I want to make sure you understand - you
hesitated a little bit there and looked up at the ceiling. I
want to make sure that you understand that you're
pleading guilty to the charge. If you need additional time to
talk to [defense counsel] and discuss it further or if
there's any question about it in your mind, please let me
know now, because I want to make sure that you understand
exactly what you're doing.
[Defendant:] Well, the reason I'm pleading guilty is to
keep my granddaughter from having to go through more trauma
and go through court.
[The Court:] Okay.
[Defendant:] I did not do that, but I will plead
guilty to the charge to keep her from being more traumatized.
[The Court:] Okay, I understand, [Defendant]. Let me explain
something to you. I practiced law 28 years before I became a
judge 17 years ago, and I did many trials and many pleas of
guilty and represented a lot of folks over the years. And I
always told my clients, I will not plead you guilty unless
you are, in fact, guilty. I will not plead you guilty if you
say "I'm doing it because of something else. I
didn't do it." And that's exactly what you told
me just then, "I didn't do it." So for that
reason I'm not going to accept your plea. Another
judge may accept it, but I will never, ever, accept a plea
from someone who says, "I'm doing it because of
another reason, I really didn't do it." And I'm
not upset with you or anything like that, I just refuse to
let anyone do anything, plead guilty to anything, that they
did not - they say they did not do. I want to make sure that
you understand you have the right to a trial, a jury trial.
Do you understand?
[Defendant:] Yeah, I understand that. We discussed that, me