This case involves complex postconviction (Rule 35c) and appellate litigation. In the postconviction proceeding, the Defendant alleged that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel at the plea negotiation stage of the case. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court ruled that the prosecution and defense had engaged in discussions regarding settlement of the case, but that the discussions had not risen to the level of a formal “offer.”

On appeal, one of the critical issues before the Court of Appeals is whether a defendant has the right to effective assistance of counsel throughout the entire plea negotiation process. If trial counsel fails to provide effective assistance during the initial plea negotiation process, how can a defendant make an informed decision whether to proceed to trial or to pursue a plea agreement?

Multiple appellate courts have ruled that a defendant is entitled to effective assistance of counsel throughout the plea negotiation process. Colorado’s appellate courts, meanwhile, have thus far ruled that the right to effective assistance is connected to the extension of a plea offer from the prosecution. The Court of Appeals ruling in this case could resolve the tension between these views.

Patrick Mulligan has represented the Defendant throughout the litigation of the postconviction (Rule 35c) claims, the contested evidentiary hearing in the trial court, and the pending appeal before the Court of Appeals. Patrick’s extensive experience in trial, postconviction, and appellate litigation is unique in Colorado. With 37 years of success as a criminal defense attorney, Patrick Mulligan has the experience to litigate any criminal case. If you or someone you love needs assistance with an appeal or a postconviction matter, call us 303-295-1500.

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