Q: Is it proper for prosecutor to enter NG plea when not in open court and where all talks were off the record?
Petty traffic case. Remote hearing (arraignment) takes place. Pros offers a plea and I decline. Pros then instructs clerk to schedule for trial. I never said that I would plead NG, nor did I refuse to enter a plea. I presumed I would have a hearing before a judge to do this, but it has been entered on MNCIS as if this all occurred in court and on the record. I understand it is COVID but this seems like a procedural violation/shortcut, especially because I was never even told that failure to accept the plea deal at that time would constitute a NG plea. I also never signed the petty rights form but it has been entered into the record with my information but without my signature. Pros went over some information with me off the record but not all information contained on the form. If I didn't go look for it, I would have never have known it was entered. Is there a motion I can make to ensure the procedure is done correctly?
A: Nothing here was improper. It would be typical, particularly in a petty misdemeanor, that you wouldn’t necessarily enter a not guilty plea in front of a judge. It is a procedural step and the failure to do so isn’t a significant error.
A: You could serve and file a motion requesting a future court appearance in front of a judge for that purpose, citing those reasons. I'm not sure what it would get you if granted, however. It might be better to request discovery and prepare for trial. Better yet, get help from a criminal defense attorney.
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