Armenta-Carpio v. StateAnnotate this Case
Defendant was charged with attempted sexual assault of a child under fourteen and related charges. Defendant faced strong evidence, including his own admissions, that he had sexual contact with his daughter. During trial, defense counsel made a strategic decision to concede there had been some sexual contact between Defendant and his daughter. The jury found Defendant guilty of all the charges. Defendant appealed, asserting that the district court's canvass concerning his counsel's concession strategy was inadequate, and therefore, his consent was involuntary and unknowing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) although the district court's inquiry did not fully comply with Hernandez v. State, which provides that a court, when faced with a concession of guilt by defense counsel during trial, must canvass the defendant to determine whether he knowingly and voluntarily consented to the concession of guilt, the rationale underlying Hernandez is unsound and the opinion therefore must be overruled; (2) a concession-of-guilt strategy is not the equivalent of a guilty plea and, therefore, the trial judge has no obligation to canvass a defendant concerning a concession-of-guilt strategy; and (3) consequently, any deficiencies in the canvass conducted in this case did not warrant relief.