The Second Department determined Supreme Court mischaracterized the scope of the waiver of appeal rendering the waiver invalid:
… [T]he court mischaracterized the effect of the waiver on the defendant’s right to appeal. In this regard, the court, after describing the function of an appellate court, concluded its explanation of the waiver by stating: “What all this means, though, is that this plea and the sentence I am going to impose are final and that higher court will not have a chance to review it.”
“The improper description of the scope of the appellate rights relinquished by the waiver is refuted by . . . precedent, whereby a defendant retains the right to appellate review of very selective fundamental issues, including the voluntariness of the plea and appeal waiver, legality of the sentence and the jurisdiction of the court” … . Accordingly, it was incorrect for the Supreme Court to convey to the defendant that an appellate court would have no authority to review the plea or the sentence under any circumstances.
Furthermore, the record in this case does not include any “clarifying language” indicating that “appellate review remained available for certain issues” or that “the right to take an appeal was retained” … . Although the People cite to a written waiver that was apparently signed by the defendant, the Supreme Court “failed to confirm that [the defendant] understood the contents of the written waiver[ ]” … . In any event, the written waiver does not indicate that appellate review remained for certain limited issues, but rather, merely stated that “[the] sentence and conviction will be final” … . People v Christopher B., 2020 NY Slip Op 03242, Second Dept 6-10-20