COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY v. TROY H. REED and COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY v. TIMOTHY A. GADDAnnotate this Case
RENDERED: SEPTEMBER 8, 2000; 2:00 p.m.
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
C ommonwealth O f K entucky
C ourt O f A ppeals
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
APPEAL FROM MADISON CIRCUIT COURT
HONORABLE JULIA ADAMS, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 99-CR-00006
TROY H. REED
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
APPEAL FROM MADISON CIRCUIT COURT
HONORABLE JULIA ADAMS, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 99-CR-00002
TIMOTHY A. GADD
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING APPEALS
** ** ** ** **
BARBER, EMBERTON AND GUIDUGLI, JUDGES.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky has appealed the
orders of the Madison Circuit Court entered March 9, 1999,
declaring KRS 189A.010(4)(c) unconstitutional as it relates to
the appellees herein; Troy H. Reed and Timothy Ray Gadd.
Believing that the issue raised by the Commonwealth is moot in
that the Commonwealth permitted the appellees to enter a guilty
plea to a misdemeanor offense under the same statute, we order
the appeals dismissed.
The factual allegations against each appellee are not
relevant to the appeal except to note that each had been
previously convicted of two prior driving under the influence
offenses (DUI) (KRS Chapter 189A) within a five year period of
time when each was again charged with a DUI offense.
arrested for this, the third DUI offense within five years, each
submitted to a breathalyzer (BA) test in which the reading
registered above 0.18.
(Reed registered a 0.197; Gadd a 0.221).
Each defendant filed a motion seeking to have KRS 189A.010(4)(c)
declared unconstitutional because of the different penalty
imposed upon one depending on the outcome of the BA test.
third offender who registers below 0.18 on the BA or who refuses
a BA test is treated as a misdemeanor offender.
whose reading on the BA is 0.18 or above is deemed a felony
offender facing one to five years in the state penitentiary.
The trial court conducted a hearing on the motion to
declare the statute unconstitutional and thereafter entered the
March 9, 1999, order declaring KRS 189A.010(4)(c)
unconstitutional finding it to be “arbitrary and not rationally
related to the legitimate interest to deter or punish DUI
The Commonwealth filed its first appeal in each
of the cases based upon this ruling.
However, the circuit
court’s actions against these defendants did not end there.
cases were again brought before the circuit court to determine
how the Commonwealth would proceed in these matters.
following exchanges took place at Gadd’s April 8, 1999, hearing
before the Madison Circuit Court Judge, Julia Adams:
Defense Counsel: The Commonwealth in the
meantime has filed a notice of appeal...I
don’t believe that it is appropriate. KRS
22A.020 certainly gives the Commonwealth
leave to appeal, however it cannot suspend
the proceedings in a criminal matter. They
can do it (appeal), but I think we still have
a right to a trial or to enter a plea.”
Mr. Gadd has been in jail since this
incident, he has served over three months, we
are open to any misdemeanor plea offers that
the Commonwealth would like to make.
Comm. Attorney: I would recommend 12 months
(the maximum). We need to find out how that
is going to affect our appeal...Would the
court grant us leave to pursue an appeal in
light of that? (in light of the defendants’
guilty pleas) Sort of a reverse conditional
Defense Counsel: I think that would grant
their appeal moot.
Judge Adams: Yea, I think it may make the
appeal moot...for him to enter a plea.
Comm. Attorney: Well then we probably better
set it for trial.
Judge Adams: Or to be convicted at
trial...either way I think that moots your
Comm. Attorney: That is exactly what I am
trying to get done.
Defense Counsel: I think they would still be
free to certify a question of law without a
matter pending, it just would not affect the
rights of Mr. Reed or Mr. Gadd.
Judge Adams: It needs to go to certification.
Comm. Attorney: That’s not what the people
down in Frankfort tell me Judge. They tell
me to run an appeal on it...I feel like I’m
whipped solid on this thing.
The rationale that I’ve been given is that in
an appeal we have a right to automatically,
certification we do not have a right to
automatically, we have a right to request,
and if the Supreme Court chooses not to grant
the certification then we have gained
Judge Adams: If he were to plead to a
misdemeanor that was forced upon you
essentially by the court, you may have a
right to appeal.
Comm. Attorney: If they would agree that we
have a right to appeal that’s fine.
Judge Adams: They want you to appeal it too.
Defense Counsel: Just not at the expense of
Mr. Gadd. Are we talking about an agreement
whereby we would agree that if this appeal is
successful, Mr. Gadd...
Judge Adams: Oh, I think Mr. Gadd will be
long gone. We don’t replow that row.
Comm. Attorney: No, he’s pled, he’s taken his
licking and kept on ticking, so I think what
we need to do is resolve the legal issue.
Defense Counsel: He certainly cannot plead
with a recommendation of the maximum
sentence, but we are willing to...
Judge Adams: If at any time you enter a plea,
I think it has to be without recommendation.
Comm. Attorney: That’s fine, if he wants to
plead without recommendation.
After additional discussions and negotiations, both
appellees subsequently plead guilty to operating a motor vehicle
while under the influence of alcohol, third offense, a
The court orders entered by Judge Adams on May 6,
1999, accepting the appellees’ pleas specifically notes that each
pled to “DUI misdemeanor” as does the docket sheet signed by the
judge on that date.
Furthermore, the court sentenced each
defendant to nine months on the DUI, third offense, conditionally
discharging the sentence for two years.
Reed had already served
126 days in jail awaiting trial and Gadd had served 137 days
prior to his plea.
The Commonwealth again filed a notice of
appeal in each case to protect its right to appeal the ruling
that the statute was unconstitutional.
On June 16, 1999, the defendants were brought back into
court for final sentencing.
After reviewing the pre-sentence
report the trial court entered the following “order noting entry
of sentence” as to both, Reed and Gadd:
The above-named defendant having appeared
in open court this date, with his attorney,
Hon. Jennifer Hall, and he having entered a
plea of guilty to the crimes of Count IOperating a Motor Vehicle Under the
Influence, 3rd offense, misdemeanor; and
Count II-Driving on Suspended License,
misdemeanor and the Court having determined
that the defendant knowingly and
understandingly entered said guilty plea and
the Court having thereupon adjudged him to be
guilty of said crime and having noted the
recommendation made by the Commonwealth’s
Attorney of (no recommendation).
In response to the Commonwealth’s appeals, the
appellees contend that as both Gadd and Reed have entered guilty
pleas and final judgments have been entered against them, double
jeopardy principles preclude the appellees from being re-tried by
the Commonwealth should the Commonwealth be successful in its
The appellees also argue that since they have entered
guilty pleas and have had final judgments rendered against them,
there is no longer any case or controversy, thereby mooting the
Commonwealth’s appeal of Judge Adams’ ruling finding KRS
The appellees are of the
position that what the Commonwealth is attempting to do is an
impermissible reverse conditional guilty plea, whereby the
Commonwealth allows the defendants to plead guilty to the lesser
offense on the condition that the Commonwealth may re-try the
defendants at a later date for the felony offense should the
Commonwealth be successful in its appeal.
The Commonwealth contends that there was no plea
The Commonwealth argues that no promises were
ever made to the defendants by the Commonwealth to induce them to
plead guilty to the lesser misdemeanor offense.
holds the view that the appellees were simply allowed to plead
guilty to the misdemeanor charge, not acquitted of the felony
charge, and therefore Section 115 of the Kentucky Constitution
entitles the Commonwealth to one appeal as a matter of right.
Having thoroughly reviewed this matter, we reject the
A careful review of the video tapes of the many court
hearings concerning the constitutionality of the statute and the
entering of a guilty plea to a misdemeanor DUI offense convinces
this Court that the Commonwealth and the defendants reached a
plea agreement which is binding.
A plea agreement is essentially
a contract between the Commonwealth and a particular defendant.
There are two elements which need to be present for a valid
enforceable plea agreement to be in existence.
First, there must
be an agreement to which both the Commonwealth and the defendant
are a party to.
Commonwealth v. Corey, Ky., 826 S.W.2d 319,
Like any contract, there needs to be a meeting of the
minds as to what is being agreed upon.
requires an offer and acceptance.
S.W.2d 703 (1983).
The plea agreement also
Cope v. Commonwealth, Ky., 645
Second, for the terms of the plea agreement
to be enforceable against the Commonwealth by the defendant, the
defendant must have detrimentally relied on the terms of the plea
In the present appeal, it seems that although the
Commonwealth was very cryptic in its guilty plea offer, there was
indeed an offer made.
To reach this conclusion it is necessary
to examine the circumstances surrounding the plea negotiations
that occurred at the April 8th motion hour.
Both defendants had
been incarcerated for over three months and all parties involved
were concerned that the Commonwealth’s appeal of Judge Adams’
ruling finding KRS 189A.010(4)(c) unconstitutional would unduly
delay the proceedings.
Defense counsel, as well as the trial
judge, suggested to the Commonwealth that the proper course of
action would be to seek a certification of the law under CR 76.37
so as to enable the defendants to go to trial or alternatively,
to enter a plea to the misdemeanor DUI charge.
had informed the Commonwealth that both defendants were open to
any plea agreements that the Commonwealth would be willing to
To defense counsel’s request for a plea offer, the
Commonwealth responded that the defendants could plead guilty,
but he would recommend the maximum sentence provided for DUI 3rd
Defense counsel informed the Commonwealth
that the Defendants were willing to plead guilty to the
misdemeanor DUI charge, but would not do so if the Commonwealth
intended to recommend the maximum sentence.
stated that she was not opposed to the Commonwealth’s appeal of
Judge Adams’ order, she just did not want the appeal to be at the
expense of the defendants.
Both Judge Adams and the
Commonwealth, in a very colloquial manner, reassured defense
counsel that neither of the defendants would be affected should
the Commonwealth be successful in its appeal.
then stated, “he certainly cannot plead with a recommendation of
the maximum sentence, but we are willing to... .”
interrupted and suggested that should the defendants enter a
plea, it should be without recommendation.
In response to Judge
Adams’ suggestion, the Commonwealth stated, “That’s fine, if he
wants to plead without recommendation.”
defendants entered the misdemeanor plea without a recommendation
by the Commonwealth.
The defendants bargained and negotiated for a
particular plea agreement.
In return for the defendant’s guilty
pleas, the Commonwealth promised that: (1) no sentence
recommendation be made by the Commonwealth, and (2) should the
Commonwealth be successful in its appeal, the Commonwealth would
not later re-try the defendants on felony DUI charges.
defendants detrimentally relied upon the plea agreement by
entering their unconditional guilty pleas.
By entering their
guilty pleas, the defendants were giving up numerous
constitutional rights including the right to a trial by jury and
the right to appeal their conviction.
Since there was a plea
agreement to which both the Commonwealth and the defendants were
parties, the agreement is enforceable against the Commonwealth by
Plea bargaining, the disposition of criminal charges by
an agreement between the prosecutor and the accused, is an
essential component of the administration of justice.
v. New York, 404 U.S. 257, 30 L.Ed.2d 427, 92 S.Ct. 495 (1971).
Properly administered, it is to be encouraged by the Court.
The Commonwealth argues that if successful in its appeal, it can
prosecute the defendants under the felony provision of KRS
“When a plea rests in any significant degree on
a promise or agreement of the prosecutor, so that it can be said
to be a part of the inducement or consideration, such promise
must be fulfilled.”
Id. At 433.
(See also, Misher v.
Commonwealth, Ky., 576 S.W.2d 238 (1979)).
In the present
appeal, it is clear that the guilty pleas of the defendants would
not have been entered in the absence of the Commonwealth’s
promises not to further prosecute the defendants and to make no
recommendation as for sentencing.
Regardless of the
successfulness of its appeal of Judge Adams’ ruling KRS
189A.010(4)(c) unconstitutional, the Commonwealth is bound by the
In light of the fact that the
Commonwealth is obligated not to re-try the defendants at a later
date under the felony DUI charge, there exists no case or
controversy, thereby mooting the Commonwealth’s appeal.
Another important issued raised by the appellees is
that further criminal proceedings in these matters would result
in double jeopardy.
The Commonwealth on the other hand asserts
its right to one appeal in criminal cases pursuant to Section 115
of the Kentucky Constitution.
Section 115 gives the Commonwealth
the right to appeal except where: (1) such an appeal would
otherwise violate the Constitution; or (2) the defendant is
If either of these conditions is present, then the
only option available to the Commonwealth would be to seek a
certification of the law.
Collins v. Commonwealth, Ky., 973
S.W.2d 50, 52 (1998).
A defendant has both state and federal constitutional
protection against being placed in jeopardy multiple times for
the same offense.
Ky. Const. § 13; U.S. Const. Amend. V.
jeopardy will act to prevent the re-trial of a person who has
previously been convicted, acquitted or pardoned for the same
A plea of guilty is the equivalent to a conviction.
Wilson v. Commonwealth, Ky. App., 577 S.W.2d 618 (1979).
conviction based on a plea of guilty to a misdemeanor charge in a
criminal court is just as effective as if a formal trial were
held and the defendant found guilty.
App., 215 S.W.2d 966 (1948).
McGrew v. Commonwealth, Ky.
A former conviction based on a
guilty plea is sufficient to sustain a defense of double jeopardy
in a subsequent prosecution for the same offense.
Kring v. State
of Mo., 107 U.S. 221, 2 S.Ct. 443, 27 L.Ed. 506 (1883) (see also,
Simpson v. Commonwealth, Ky., 759 S.W.2d 224 (1988)).
defendant enters a plea of guilty and waives the right to a trial
by jury, the defendant is entitled to a final determination of
Hord v. Commonwealth, Ky., 450 S.W.2d 530 (1970).
Once the defendant has been tried and a judgment has been entered
fixing his punishment, he has been once placed in jeopardy for
the offense charged.
for the same offense.
He cannot again be placed in jeopardy
By allowing the defendants to plead guilty to the
misdemeanor DUI offense on the condition that should the
Commonwealth be successful in its appeal it will re-try the
defendants under the felony charge, the Commonwealth is
attempting to do what can only be called a “reverse conditional
For obvious double jeopardy reasons, the
conditional guilty plea is an option available only to the
To allow the Commonwealth to utilize a
conditional guilty plea in such a manner would be a clear
violation of double jeopardy.
The Double Jeopardy Clause
prohibits the state from trying a defendant for a greater offense
after obtaining the defendant’s conviction on a lesser included
Grady v. Corbin, 495 U.S. 508, 109 L.Ed.2d 548, 110 S.Ct.
More specifically, the Double Jeopardy Clause bars
a subsequent prosecution if, to establish an essential element of
an offense charged in that prosecution, the government must prove
conduct that constitutes an offense for which the defendant has
already been prosecuted.
In the present appeal, both
defendants have entered unconditional guilty pleas to the offense
of misdemeanor DUI 3rd.
Judgments have been entered affixing
their punishment for these violations.
The defendants have a
legitimate expectation of finality in the sentences they
Successive prosecutions, regardless of whether they
follow acquittals or convictions, raise double jeopardy concerns
that go beyond merely the threat of an enhanced sentence.
“The underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in at least
the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence, is that the State
will all its resources and power should not be allowed to make
repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged
offense, thereby subjecting him to embarrassment, expense and
ordeal and compelling him to live in a continuing state of
anxiety and insecurity.”
To allow the Commonwealth
to re-try the defendants on felony DUI charges after the
defendants have entered unconditional guilty pleas to misdemeanor
DUI charges would violate both the spirit and the letter of the
Double Jeopardy Clause.
Since allowing the Commonwealth to re-
try the defendants under the felony DUI charge would violate
Double Jeopardy Clause, the Commonwealth’s appeal is improper.
Judge Adams summed up this case very well when she
stated at the April 18, 1999, hearing, “The problem is this is a
case where we all want a definitive appellate answer.
problem is no one wants to lock you up in perpetuity (Mr.
Gadd)...on the other hand no one wants to estop a resolution.”
Unfortunately the Commonwealth has chosen the wrong path in its
pursuit of resolution.
As this case involves the
constitutionality of a statute, the proper course would have been
for the Commonwealth to have sought a certification of the law
pursuant to CR 76.37.
In that the Commonwealth entered into a binding plea
agreement in this case, and further that double jeopardy would
prohibit further proceedings in this matter upon remand (if we
were to reverse the trial court’s order), we believe the issues
raised by the Commonwealth herein are improperly before this
Court and are moot and therefore, order the appeals dismissed.
Daniel T. Guidugli
JUDGE, COURT OF APPEALS
ENTERED: September 8, 2000
BRIEF FOR APPELLANT:
BRIEF FOR APPELLEES:
A. B. Chandler, III
Assistant Public Advocate
Todd D. Ferguson
John E. Zak
Assistant Attorney General