The Supreme Court of Ohio today ruled that, “before accepting a guilty plea to a felony offense, Ohio trial courts must strictly comply with Ohio Criminal Rule 11(C)(2)(c) by orally advising the defendant of five specific constitutional rights the defendant will waive (give up) by pleading guilty. The Court held further that a trial court’s failure to strictly comply with the rule invalidates the defendant’s guilty plea.”
( Supreme Court’s summary )( Decision )
In the case in point, the trial court judge had questioned a defendant and determined that he knew and understood the rights he was waiving by accepting a plea bargain in which he agreed to plead guilty to felonious assault with a firearm specification, as required by Ohio Crim.R. 11. The judge, however, failed to advise defendant that one of those rights included in Rule 11was the right to a trial at which the state would have to prove his guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The Court noted Chief Justice Moyer’s having observed that “Ohio adopted CrimR 11 back in 1972 in response to Boykin v. Alabama, in which the U.S. Supreme Court had held that a court’s failure to explicitly advise a defendant of specific constitutional rights he was giving up by pleading guilty, rendered the defendant’s waiver of those rights invalid.” The Chief Justice also acknowledged “a line of cases decided by the Ohio Supreme Court since 1977 that established a standard of ‘substantial compliance’ under which a guilty plea is not necessarily invalidated,” emphasizing and explaining the distinction.