It was last April when 26-year-old Amonty Young of West Point was sentenced as a habitual offender to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to the charge of uttering forgery. Now Young is petitioning Clay County Circuit Court to toss out the judgement on several bases, including an alleged violation by the grand jury of Clay County.
Around Oct. 6, 2008 a grand jury indicted Young on the charges of felony fleeing, uttering forgery, escape and taking of a motor vehicle. Young stated in his recently filed Motion Seeking Arrest of Judgement that he felt forced by a Circuit Court judge to plead guilty to the charges. He made note of state law that says no trial judge should participate in any plea discussions. Young said during his April 3, 2012 habitual offender status hearing Judge Jim Kitchens “stated on record that if (Young) refused to take the plea, that he would be found guilty and would be sentenced to 30 years to life” as opposed to 10 years. Aside from the pressure he felt from Kitchens, Young stated his defense attorney did not satisfactorily represent him or provide him with a clear understanding of the matters bearing on the choice of a guilty plea.
Young stated in his motion that the grand jury, who indicted him, failed to show the description of his past convictions and the dates of those convictions. He wrote to the court that the grand jury also failed to state in their Oct. 6, 2008 indictment that Young is a habitual offender. Young feels these alleged failures violates his right to Due Process.
But last April before Young was sentenced to 10 years, the court granted a motion for the State to amend the indictment to show that Young was previously convicted April 15, 2004 of burglarizing a business, a charge for which he was sentenced to five years. The amended indictment also states that Young was previously convicted on the same day in 2004 to the charge of felony escape, a crime for which he was ordered to serve an additional five years. The amended indictment also stated that Young should be charged as a habitual offender.
In his Motion Seeking Arrest of Judgement, Young pointed out that anyone accused of a felony crime must be brought to trial no later than 270 days following their arraignment. He noted that he was arraigned Jan. 14, 2009 for the charges brought against him but was not sentenced until April 4, 2012, well past the 270 day time frame.
The court has not yet ruled on Young’s request to have his judgement tossed out but did review his criminal file and will soon review the transcript of his plea hearing before taking further action on his motion.