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Cuyahoga County Judge Accidentally Grants Request to Withdraw Guilty Plea

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Judges and prosecutors always get it right, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes these officials make errors in criminal matters, and that’s not always a bad thing. Case in point: A retired Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge accidentally granted our client’s, Mr. Jackson, request to withdraw his guilty plea for attempted murder. And the assistant prosecutor assigned to the case failed to appeal the order, citing an electronic notification issue.

With his plea withdrawn, our client may be:

  • Transferred from prison to county jail
  • Released on bond, and
  • Allowed to have his case reopened.

Judge Dick Ambrose, who retired a few weeks after granting the motion, admitted he meant to deny Mr. Jackson’s request but approved it instead. Now, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office is scrambling to find ways to “rectify” the blunder, asking the judge who replaced Ambrose to rescind the approval because Ambrose no longer has the authority to do so.

After being sentenced, Mr. Jackson initially filed a motion to withdraw his plea in 2019. That request was denied. Last year, he hired Patituce & Associates. We filed the most recent motion, citing errors in information Ambrose provided or failed to provide to Mr. Jackson, including not letting him know that he could appeal his sentence.

Attorney Joe Patituce said that the current judge should not be asked to reverse the order. The State had its chance to appeal the decision, but prosecutors weren’t on top of things, so they missed the deadline.

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