Escholt v. State, 020520 AKCA, A-12771

Docket Nº:A-12771
Opinion Judge:HARBISON JUDGE
Party Name:ALBERT ESCHOLT, Appellant, v. STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.
Attorney:Carolyn Perkins, Law Offices of Carolyn Perkins, Salt Lake City, Utah, under contract with the Office of Public Advocacy, Anchorage, for the Appellant. Elizabeth T. Burke, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Criminal Appeals, Anchorage, and Jahna Lindemuth, Attorney General, Juneau, for the App...
Judge Panel:Before: Allard, Chief Judge, and Wollenberg and Harbison, Judges.
Case Date:February 05, 2020
Court:Court of Appeals of Alaska
 
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ALBERT ESCHOLT, Appellant,

v.

STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.

No. A-12771

Court of Appeals of Alaska

February 5, 2020

UNPUBLISHED See Alaska Appellate Rule 214(d)

Appeal from the Superior Court, Third Judicial District, Palmer, Vanessa H. White, Judge. Trial Court No. 3PA-13-02871 CI

Carolyn Perkins, Law Offices of Carolyn Perkins, Salt Lake City, Utah, under contract with the Office of Public Advocacy, Anchorage, for the Appellant.

Elizabeth T. Burke, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Criminal Appeals, Anchorage, and Jahna Lindemuth, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.

Before: Allard, Chief Judge, and Wollenberg and Harbison, Judges.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

HARBISON JUDGE

Albert Escholt appeals the dismissal of his application for post-conviction relief for failure to state & prima facie case for relief. For the reasons we explain in this opinion, we conclude that the superior court acted prematurely when it dismissed Escholt's post-conviction relief application.

Background facts

Following a jury trial, Escholt was convicted of attempted murder and third-degree assault against his girlfriend. The superior court imposed a sentence of 30 years with 12 years suspended (18 years to serve).

Escholt subsequently filed a pro se application for post-conviction relief. Later, through counsel, he filed an amended application, alleging two claims of ineffective assistance of counsel by his trial attorney. Only one of these claims is relevant here - that Escholt's trial attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel prior to trial by failing to communicate to Escholt an offer from the State to plead guilty to a charge of attempted murder with a sentence of 10 years to serve.

In support of his amended application, Escholt submitted affidavits from himself and from his trial attorney, as well as a copy of the email exchanges between his trial attorney and two different prosecutors, documenting their plea negotiations.

In his affidavit, Escholt stated that his attorney did not inform him of an offer the State made prior to trial for him to serve 10 years if he pleaded guilty to attempted murder. He indicated that if he had known about the offer, he would have accepted the offer. Escholt also stated that, when he discussed the possibility of a postconviction relief action with his trial attorney, his attorney "told [Escholt] that he agreed that [Escholt]...

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