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NMI Supreme Court affirms criminal sentence and conviction

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(NMI Judiciary) —  On July 10, 2020, the local Supreme Court issued its opinion in Commonwealth v. George Ramel Delos Santos.

Delos Santos pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree and appealed. His court- appointed lawyer moved to withdraw from the appeal, believing it to be frivolous. The high court agreed and affirmed Delos Santos’s sentence and conviction.

Delos Santos’s lawyer outlined the best available arguments in a brief, as approved by the United States Supreme Court in Anders v. California (1967). He found that none of these arguments would warrant reversal. While the Anders motion was pending, counsel withdrew on the basis of a conflict of interest.

After an independent examination of the record, the high court agreed with the Anders brief that there were no valid claims. The plea hearing was adequate, there was a factual basis in the record to support the guilty plea, the sentence was legal and substantively reasonable, and there was not ineffective assistance of counsel. The high court affirmed.

The full opinion is available at  http://www.cnmilaw.org/pdf/supreme/2020-MP-16.pdf

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