Nevada’s Appellate Court has unanimously reversed the conviction of James Stojic on multiple counts of forgery, theft and credit card violations.
Stojic entered a presentence motion to withdraw his guilty plea in the case after discovering instead of facing a single five year sentence as an habitual criminal, he would be sentenced to numerous sentences including forgery, possession of illegal drugs for sale and identity theft.
The district judge forced his lawyer to argue the motion, which the appellate judges say violated Stojic’s rights by effectively requiring the trial lawyer to prove his own ineffectiveness.
“Requiring trial counsel to prove his own ineffectiveness creates an inherent conflict of interest that deprives the defendant of his 6th Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel,” the order states.
Instead of a single habitual sentence, the judge sentences Stojic to eight felony counts, ordering they be served consecutively. That means he wouldn’t begin his final sentence until 2027.
The appellate judges threw out all those convictions, ordering the judge to appoint conflict-free counsel to represent Stojic in his motion to withdraw his guilty plea and to conduct an evidentiary hearing and let Stojic withdraw the guilty plea if it was invalid.