APPEAL FROM THE FAYETTE CIRCUIT COURT, The Honorable Daniel Lee Pflum, Judge, Cause No. C-74-37
Neal, J., Ratliff, C.j. and Shields, P.j., Concur.
Defendant-appellant, Vester Rose (Rose), appeals the decision of the Fayette Circuit Court denying his petition for post-conviction relief.
On March 1, 1974, Rose was charged by grand jury indictment with unlawful sale of controlled substance. He entered a plea of guilty to the charge on May 21, 1974. At the guilty plea hearing, the trial court informed Rose that he had a right to a public trial, to present a defense, to testify and subpoena witnesses on his behalf, and that the State was obligated to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The trial court, however, failed to advise Rose at either the arraignment or the guilty plea hearing of his right of confrontation, which right he waived by pleading guilty. On June 3, 1974, the trial court accepted Rose's plea of guilty and sentenced him to two years in prison and a $100.00 fine.
Rose filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief on march 13, 1986, nearly 12 years after his conviction, raising the trial court's failure to advise him as required by statute before accepting a guilty plea as grounds to vacate his conviction. The State responded and raised the defense of laches. After a hearing, the trial court denied the petition, finding that Rose had been advised of his rights and that any missing advisements were harmless. The trial court also found that the State had established its laches defense. Rose has subsequently instituted this appeal.
Rose presents three issues for our review. Because we reverse, we need only address the following:
I. Whether the failure to advise Rose of his right of confrontation is grounds for post-conviction relief absent a showing of prejudice.
II. Whether the trial court erred in finding that the State had met its burden of ...