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Plea Withdrawal – Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Braidyn S. Nederhoff

Case No.: 2020AP1285-CR

Officials: Stark, P.J., Hruz and Nashold, JJ.

Focus: Plea Withdrawal – Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Braidyn Nederhoff appeals a judgment convicting him, upon his guilty pleas, of three counts of possession of methamphetamine, as a repeater. He also appeals an order denying his postconviction motion for plea withdrawal. It is undisputed that Nederhoff’s trial attorney misinformed him about the terms of the plea agreement. Nederhoff therefore argues that he is entitled to withdraw his pleas because he has shown that they were not knowing, intelligent, and voluntary, and because he has demonstrated ineffective assistance of trial counsel.

The parties agree that the circuit court employed an incorrect legal analysis when denying Nederhoff’s postconviction motion. The State argues, however, that we may nevertheless affirm because under the correct analysis, Nederhoff has failed to establish that if he had been correctly informed of the terms of the State’s plea offer, he would have rejected that offer and would have instead gone to trial. Because the circuit court did not employ this analysis, it did not make any factual findings regarding Nederhoff’s motivation for accepting a plea deal, the credibility of his testimony that he would not have accepted the State’s plea offer had he been correctly informed of its terms, or the credibility of his trial attorney’s testimony regarding the defense’s overall strategy when negotiating the plea agreement.

Absent such factual findings, we cannot determine whether Nederhoff has established his entitlement to plea withdrawal under the correct legal analysis. We therefore reverse the order denying Nederhoff’s postconviction motion for plea withdrawal. We remand for the circuit court to reconsider Nederhoff’s motion using the correct legal analysis, including by making the factual findings discussed above.

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Derek A Hawkins is Corporate Counsel, at Salesforce.

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