250 S.W.3d 306 (Ky. 2008), 2007-SC-000039, Windsor v. Commonwealth

Docket Nº:2007-SC-000039-MR.
Citation:250 S.W.3d 306
Party Name:Shawn WINDSOR, Appellant, v. COMMONWEALTH of Kentucky, Appellee.
Case Date:April 24, 2008
Court:Supreme Court of Kentucky
 
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Page 306

250 S.W.3d 306 (Ky. 2008)

Shawn WINDSOR, Appellant,

v.

COMMONWEALTH of Kentucky, Appellee.

No. 2007-SC-000039-MR.

Supreme Court of Kentucky

April 24, 2008

Daniel T. Goyette , Louisville Metro Public Defender, J. David Niehaus , Deputy Appellate Defender, Office of the Louisville Metro Public Defender, Louisville, KY, Counsel for Appellant.

Jack Conway, Attorney General, David A. Smith , Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Criminal Appellate Division, Frankfort, KY, Counsel for Appellee.

OPINION

Justice SCHRODER .

The issue in this case is whether an unconditional guilty plea automatically waives a direct appeal authorized by Section 115 of the Kentucky Constitution . Although the AOC guilty plea form no. 491 used in this case does contain an express waiver of a direct appeal, the waiver is not absolute. Therefore, the case must be remanded for reinstatement of the right to appeal.

Against the advice of counsel, Shawn Windsor entered an unconditional plea of guilty to two counts of murder (and two other charges). At the time he entered a guilty plea, he requested the judge impose the death penalty. At the sentencing hearing, the judge entered a sentence of death on each murder charge (as well as sentences on the other two offenses). In the court's “Judgment of Conviction and Sentence" , entered November 17, 2006, the Appellant was found guilty of two counts

Page 307

of Capital Murder (and the two other charges), and sentenced to death on each murder count. The judgment also contained a notice to the Appellant “that he has the right to appeal and that, if he is unable to pay the costs of appeal or employ counsel for appeal, the Court will appoint counsel and will grant the [Appellant] the right to file his appeal in forma pauperis. " Subsequently, appointed counsel filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal. The Commonwealth objected on grounds that Appellant had waived his right of direct appeal pursuant to his guilty plea. By “Order Amending Judgment" , entered December 13, 2006, the circuit court amended the judgment “to reflect that the [Appellant] has no right to appeal but the Judgment will receive the mandatory review by the Kentucky Supreme Court as provided by statute."

Appellant contends that the amended judgment, to the extent that it extinguishes his constitutional right to appeal...

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