Date of Plea
Prosecutors must do the following on the date of a plea:
- Prepare amended information and declaration in support (if needed) and judgment and sentencing paperwork.
- Deliver all paperwork to the court in which the proceeding is scheduled by the time the plea proceeding is scheduled to occur.
- If the criminal division (CD) "barrel" Deputy Prosecuting Attorney (DPA) is handling the plea, it is the responsibility of the trial DPA to have all necessary paperwork completed and in the hands of the barrel deputy at or before the scheduled plea time.
All plea paperwork, including the Statement of Defendant on Plea of Guilty, should be completely filled out, preferably typed, reviewed and signed by the defendant on or before the date and prior to the time the plea proceeding is scheduled to occur. If defendant is out of custody, remind the defendant to appear on time.
Change of Plea
If the defendant changes his or her mind and decides not to plead guilty, counsel should inform the court and the prosecutor as soon as this becomes known. If the defendant does not have a future Omnibus Hearing scheduled and one has not occurred, then the defense counsel must set one at the time the plea is cancelled.
What should happen at the scheduled Plea Date
- If the defendant does not appear, defense counsel should notify the judicial assistant (JA) and the prosecutor as soon as the attorney becomes aware of this. If the defendant does not appear on time, the court may issue an arrest warrant.
- If the defendant is in custody and the parties are not ready at the time the case is called, the judge will consider several options, for example, striking the plea, setting the plea over, etc.
- If the defendant is out of custody and the parties are not ready, the matter will be continued until a later time.
- If the defendant enters a plea and if the judge accepts the plea, the judge makes required findings, and, if agreed, will sentence the defendant.
- If the defendant does not enter a plea, the defendant and counsel must still appear at the scheduled time for court consideration of setting a status conference, reconfirming the trial date or setting a new plea date. Any request for continuance must be heard by the Criminal Division Presiding Judge (CDPJ).