Goffner v. State, 1178S263

Citation270 Ind. 562,387 N.E.2d 1321
Decision Date17 April 1979
Docket NumberNo. 1178S263,1178S263
PartiesGeorge D. GOFFNER, Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Harriette Bailey Conn, Public Defender, Jewell K. Smith, Deputy Public Defender, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Philip R. Blowers, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

GIVAN, Chief Justice.

This appeal arises from the denial of appellant's petition for post-conviction relief. On August 15, 1961, appellant was indicted for first degree murder by the Knox County Grand Jury. On August 19, appellant appeared in court with his attorney and tendered his plea of guilty to second degree murder. The trial court accepted the plea and following pre-sentence investigation, sentenced the appellant to life imprisonment. In March, 1978, appellant filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his guilty plea was not entered knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily. The trial court denied relief.

On appeal, it is first contended that the guilty plea proceeding is devoid of evidence showing the original trial court advised appellant of the elements of second degree murder or found a factual basis for the plea of guilty. Appellant concedes that his case must be adjudicated according to the law applicable in 1961, rather than the more recent standards imposed by Boykin v. Alabama (1969) 395 U.S. 238, 89 S.Ct. 1709, 23 L.Ed.2d 274; Williams v. State (1975) 263 Ind. 165, 325 N.E.2d 827; Ind.R.Cr.P. 10; and IC § 35-4.1-1-3 and 4 (Burns 1979). In general, these authorities require the record of the guilty plea proceeding to show that the defendant was adequately informed of his constitutional rights; that the court is satisfied that there is a factual basis for the plea; and that the plea is entered knowingly and voluntarily.

Prior to Boykin, the law in Indiana was stated by the case of Harshman v. State (1953) 232 Ind. 618, 115 N.E.2d 501. In reversing and remanding the cause for the withdrawal of a guilty plea, this Court stated in that case:

"Under our practice an accused may enter a plea of guilty in any case, and thereby waive his constitutional right to trial by jury. But to be valid and binding upon the accused, such a plea must be made by the accused intelligently, advisedly and understandingly, with full knowledge of his rights, and with the considered approval of the judge before whom he stands charged.

"A valid plea of guilty in a court having jurisdiction of the offense is a judicial confession of guilt. Batchelor v. State, 1920, 189 Ind. 69, 125 N.E. 773. It admits the incriminating facts alleged. 22 C.J.S., Criminal Law, § 424. It should be Cautiously received. It should not be accepted from one who does not know, or who, at the time of arraignment, asserts that he does not know, whether or not he has committed the crime charged, for such would be entirely incompatible with the idea of an admission of guilt, and wholly inconsistent with the due administration of justice.

". . . (s)o far as the record before us discloses, No evidence whatever pointing to appellant's guilt was adduced, either before, during or after the entry of the plea." 232 Ind. at 620-21, 115 N.E.2d at 502. (emphasis added.)

It is clear from these principles that before accepting a guilty plea the pre-Boykin trial court had to insure that the accused was informed of the elements of the crime with which he was charged and was required also to find facts which supported the entry of the plea.

Although the authorities now require the record of the guilty plea proceeding to demonstrate the voluntariness of the plea and the advisement of rights, we think that judicial review of pre-Boykin pleas need not be so narrow. Thus, in determining the propriety of a pre-Boykin guilty plea, a post-conviction court may consider not only the record of the proceeding at which the plea was formally accepted, but also the entire range of surrounding circumstances, including any other proceedings and events in the same approximate time frame.

In the case at bar appellant was arraigned on August 15, 1961. At this hearing, the deputy prosecuting attorney read to appellant the indictment charging first degree murder. Upon direction from the court, he also read the statutes for first degree murder, second degree murder and manslaughter. The court then advised appellant of his rights, determined that appellant understood them and appointed pauper counsel to represent appellant. The arraignment was continued and on August 19, 1961, appellant again appeared in open court with his court-appointed attorney. He informed the court that he wished to enter a plea of guilty to the...

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4 cases
  • Woods v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • September 29, 1981
    ...the court to advise in accord with the statutes was reversible error. Woods urges that application here. However, in Goffner v. State, (1979) Ind., 387 N.E.2d 1321, 1323, our Supreme Court rejected such "Prior to Boykin, the law in Indiana was stated by the case of Harshman v. State (1953) ......
  • Williams v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • May 8, 1985
    ...voluntarily and that his plea would not have been altered by more inclusive advice from the court." Id., at 563-64. Goffner v. State, (1979) 270 Ind. 562, 387 N.E.2d 1321, involved a 1961 pre-Boykin plea wherein the defendant contended that the trial court failed to advise him of the elemen......
  • Neeley v. State, 2-1185A362
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 1, 1986
    ...to determine Neeley made his plea "intelligently, advisedly and understandingly, with full knowledge of his rights," Goffner v. State (1979), 270 Ind. 562, 387 N.E.2d 1321, quoting Harshman v. State (1953), 232 Ind. 618, 115 N.E.2d 501, 502. Neeley asserts he was informed only of his rights......
  • Perry v. State
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Indiana
    • April 17, 1979

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