The Third Department reversed County Court finding that defendant should have been allowed to withdraw his guilty plea on the ground it was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. Although plaintiff was pleading to a lesser crime, during the plea colloquy County Court elicited an admission to an act which negated an element of the crime defendant was pleading to. Defendant pled to a rape where the victim was unable to consent. However, in the plea colloquy defendant admitted the victim demonstrated she did not consent:
Where, as here, a defendant pleads to a lesser crime as part of a plea bargain, the court is not required to engage in a factual recitation in order to establish the elements of the crime … , and, in fact, “under such circumstances defendants can even plead guilty to crimes that do not exist” … . In this instance, although not required to do so, County Court nevertheless sought to elicit the details of the crime from defendant prior to accepting his plea and led him in a factual recitation. The questions posed by the court during the allocution appeared to be designed to elicit from defendant facts supporting the elements of rape in the third degree, a crime which had been charged in the indictment, but was to be dismissed as part of the plea to rape in the second degree; notably, rape in the third degree includes the element that the victim's “words and acts” demonstrated that he or she did not consent to sexual intercourse with the defendant (Penal Law § 130.05  [d]; see Penal Law § 130.25). In response to the court's inquiries, defendant admitted that he had engaged in nonconsensual sexual intercourse with the victim and that the intercourse was nonconsensual because the victim had “indicated to [him], by words or actions, that she did not wish to engage in sexual intercourse with [him].” This factual recitation was inconsistent with the crime to which he was pleading and, in fact, negated an element of that crime, namely that the victim be “incapable of consent by reason of being mentally disabled or mentally incapacitated” (Penal Law § 130.30  … ).
County Court failed to conduct any further inquiry prior to accepting the plea in order “to ensure that defendant underst[ood] the nature of the charge and that the plea [was] intelligently entered” … . People v Banks, 2016 NY Slip Op 02127, 3rd Dept 3-24-16
CRIMINAL LAW (IN PLEADING GUILTY TO A LESSER CRIME, DEFENDANT ADMITTED AN ACTION WHICH NEGATED AN ELEMENT OF THE CRIME TO WHICH HE PLED, MOTION TO WITHDRAW PLEA SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED)/ GUILTY PLEA (IN PLEADING GUILTY TO A LESSER CRIME, DEFENDANT ADMITTED AN ACTION WHICH NEGATED AN ELEMENT OF THE CRIME TO WHICH HE PLED, MOTION TO WITHDRAW PLEA SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED)