OK for Court to Reject Plea Agreement

U.S. v. Lechner, 2009 WL 2480772 (8/14/09) (unpub'd) - The d. ct. did not abuse its discretion when it rejected a plea agreement due to the defendant's failure to admit her intent to assault the victim. The court properly understood the defendant to be refusing to admit all the essential elements. Instead of getting probation under the plea agreement, the defendant got 5 years after a bench trial. The d. ct. did not commit plain error in advising the defendant about her right not to testify when she first indicated she wanted to testify. The d.c t. correctly told her the government had the burden to prove all the elements beyond a reasonable doubt. This did not mislead her into thinking her testimony was not necessary to establish her self-defense defense. The d.ct. correctly told the defendant her failure to testify would not impact its verdict. It did not improperly inject itself into a dispute between the defendant and her attorney about trial strategy, [although the fact that defense counsel asked the court to advise the defendant about her rights regarding testifying certainly implied there was such a dispute].