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Ex parte Danforth

Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas

January 15, 2014

EX PARTE CLAUDE KENNETH DANFORTH, Applicant

Do not publish

ON APPLICATION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS CAUSE NO. 11, 594-A IN THE 46TH DISTRICT COURT FROM WILBARGER COUNTY

ORDER

PER CURIAM.

Pursuant to the provisions of Article 11.07 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, the clerk of the trial court transmitted to this Court this application for a writ of habeas corpus. Ex parte Young, 418 S.W.2d 824, 826 (Tex. Crim. App. 1967). Applicant pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment. He did not appeal his conviction.

Applicant contends, among other things, [1] that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance because counsel failed to file a motion to suppress evidence, and coerced Applicant into pleading guilty despite the lack of evidence to support the conviction. Applicant alleges that the State made a ten-year offer prior to trial, which he wanted to accept, but trial counsel advised him to wait to make a decision. According to Applicant, the State then withdrew the ten-year offer, and subsequently offered twenty years instead .

Applicant has alleged facts that, if true, might entitle him to relief. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984); Ex parte Patterson, 993 S.W.2d 114, 115 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999). In these circumstances, additional facts are needed. As we held in Ex parte Rodriguez, 334 S.W.2d 294, 294 (Tex. Crim. App. 1960), the trial court is the appropriate forum for findings of fact. The trial court shall order trial counsel to respond to Applicant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court may use any means set out in Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 11.07, § 3(d).

If the trial court elects to hold a hearing, it shall determine whether Applicant is indigent. If Applicant is indigent and wishes to be represented by counsel, the trial court shall appoint an attorney to represent Applicant at the hearing. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 26.04.

The trial court shall first supplement the habeas record with copies of the plea documents in this case, including any written plea agreement, the admonishments, waivers, stipulations and judicial confession. The trial court shall make findings as to whether the State ever extended a ten-year offer to Applicant, whether trial counsel communicated all plea offers to Applicant, and whether counsel advised Applicant not to accept any of the State's offers, or, as Applicant alleges, advised Applicant to "wait" until it was too late to accept any particular offer. The trial court shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law as to whether the performance of Applicant's trial counsel was deficient and, if so, whether counsel's deficient performance prejudiced Applicant. The trial court shall also make any other findings of fact and conclusions of law that it deems relevant and appropriate to the disposition of Applicant's claim for habeas corpus relief.

This application will be held in abeyance until the trial court has resolved the fact issues. The issues shall be resolved within 90 days of this order. A supplemental transcript containing all affidavits and interrogatories or the transcription of the court reporter's notes from any hearing or deposition, along with the trial court's supplemental findings of fact and conclusions of law, shall be forwarded to ...


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