The Third Department, vacating the sentence and remitting the matter, determined County Court failed to consider the relevant factors for adjudicating defendant a youthful offender. Instead the court did not consider the issue at all based on its understanding the People would withdraw their consent to the plea offer if youthful offender status were granted. Although the People may bargain for the right to withdraw consent to the plea agreement is youthful offender treatment is granted, there was no such condition on the record here:
“[I]t is a settled rule of law in this [s]tate that off-the-record promises made in the plea bargaining process will not be recognized where they are flatly contradicted by the record, either by the existence of some on-the-record promise whose terms are inconsistent with those later urged or by the placement on the record of a statement by the pleading defendant that no other promises have been made to induce his [or her] guilty plea” … . The plea proceedings here were devoid of any indication that the People conditioned their consent to the plea agreement upon defendant not receiving youthful offender treatment or that defendant understood such a condition to be part of the agreement, and defendant stated during the plea colloquy that no off-the-record promises had been made to induce his guilty plea. The People further failed to reference their purported right to withdraw consent to the plea agreement when they addressed the question of youthful offender treatment at sentencing. The alleged off-the-record arrangement was unenforceable given those circumstances and, as such, “County Court should not have accorded any weight to” it … .
… County Court found that defendant was an “eligible youth” for purposes of youthful offender status (CPL 720.10 , ), the court was obliged to consider the relevant factors and determine whether it would, as a discretionary matter, adjudicate him to be a youthful offender … . People v Irizarry, 2022 NY Slip Op 02159, Third Dept 3-31-22
Practice Point: Here County Court did not consider the factors for adjudicating whether defendant should be afforded youthful offender status based upon on an off-the-record “condition,” i.e., that the People would withdraw their consent to the plea offer if the defendant were granted youthful offender status. Although the People can bargain for such a condition, there was nothing on the record about it. Therefore the judge should not have given it any weight and should have considered the factors for a youthful offender adjudication.