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Posted by: Landry Butler on Jan 30, 2017

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Brandon L. Newman, Trenton, Tennessee (on appeal); and Michael J. Flanagan, Nashville, Tennessee (at hearing), for the appellant, William M. Cole.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zenter, Assistant Attorney General; Garry G. Brown, District Attorney General; and Hillary L. Parham, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): GLENN

The defendant, William M. Cole, was indicted for rape of a child and entered a best-interest guilty plea to incest on May 6, 2015. He was sentenced on September 8, 2015, to six years as a Range I, standard offender. On September 14, 2015, he filed a timely notice of appeal of his sentence. On September 28, 2015, he filed in the trial court a motion to withdraw his plea of guilty, arguing that he was not related to the victim by blood or marriage and, therefore, could not be found guilty of incest. In this direct appeal filed after his plea of guilty and sentencing, but before he sought to withdraw his guilty plea, he argues that his plea of guilty was involuntary and should be set aside and that the trial court failed to consider all relevant factors in sentencing him. The State responds that the defendant may attack the voluntariness of his plea only in a petition for post-conviction relief and not in a direct appeal. We agree with this response, as well as the State’s assertion that the defendant was properly sentenced. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.