Bethea v. StateAnnotate this Case
Defendant pled guilty to felony armed robbery and felony criminal confinement. The trial court determined that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances and imposed the maximum sentence of twenty years on each count, resulting in an aggregate sentence of forty years. The court of appeals affirmed the sentence. Defendant subsequently filed for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to challenge the aggravating factors used by the trial court in determining his sentence. Specifically, Defendant claimed the trial court could not aggravate his sentence with an essential element of a charge that was dismissed pursuant to the plea agreement. The trial court denied relief. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that unless the evidence is forbidden by the terms of the plea agreement, the trial judge may consider all evidence properly before him.