Misty Croslin, the babysitter on watch when Haleigh Cummings went missing, is trying to get a different sentence, according to an article in The Florida Times Union. Misty was arrested on drug charges in St. Johns and Putnam counties, unrelated to the missing child. Croslin entered a plea to the court to trafficking charges and was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. Croslin’s attorney filed a motion with the court to set aside her sentences and essentially start over. She claims that her original St. Johns criminal attorney did not explain what the possible sentences could be and promised her she would receive six years in prison as a youthful offender. Croslin’s original attorney denies this allegation and suggested that the twenty five year sentence was a win, considering that the judge could have sentenced her to twenty five years in prison consecutively on each charge. This means that once one sentence is completed, the other would begin. The trial judge now has to determine whether or not Croslin understood her options and possible punishments prior to entering her pleas to the Court.
Whenever someone enters a plea to a felony charge in Duval, Clay, Nassau or St. Johns Counties, the judge recites a plea colloquy. This conversation/question and answer session is designed to make sure a defendant fully understands the consequences of their plea. The judge advises the defendant of the nature of the charges, the minimum and maximum possible punishments, all the possible defenses to the charge and mitigation in each case. Judges also make sure to ask whether or not the plea is voluntarily made and ask if defendant has been promised anything, other than a negotiated disposition, to enter the plea. In addition to making sure the plea is freely made, judges also have to advise a defendant the rights they are giving up. Every arrested person has the right to a trial, the right to be represented by a criminal defense lawyer, the right to present witnesses on their behalf, the right to require the prosecutor’s office to prove the case against them beyond all reasonable doubt and the right against self-incrimination. Judges also remind defendants of the consequences of their plea, such as deportation.
If Duval county and others, there are forms that a defendant must read and sign prior to entering a plea to a felony charge. It is important to consult with an experienced St. Johns County criminal attorney prior to entering plea to the judge or negotiating with the the state attorney’s office.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.