Appellate court upholds sex offender plea deal

By Gabriel Neves | Aug 30, 2018

MT. VERNON –– A sex offender cannot withdraw his guilty plea, an appellate court ruled.

The Fifth District Appellate Court upheld St. Clair County Circuit Judge Zina Cruse's decision to deny the request by Andrew McKinnon, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to predatory sexual assault of a child. 

McKinnon was sentenced to six years imprisonment, followed by mandatory supervised release for three years. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender and undergo mandatory HIV and STD testing. 

Yet, less than a month later, McKinnon filed a motion to withdraw his plea. McKinnon argued his attorney pressured him to make the plea and provided "inadequate representation." He filed another such motion in 2015. 


McKinnon was sentenced to six years imprisonment, followed by mandatory supervised release. He filed a motion to withdraw the plea a month later.  

During a hearing, McKinnon claimed he never saw the police report submitted for his case and did not know what actions his previous attorney took, such as finding witnesses. McKinnon denied committing the sexual assault. He also acknowledged he did not have any witnesses to back up his claims, according to court documents.

The circuit court ruled McKinnon's plea was voluntary and the appellate court agreed. 

"The defendant was fully informed about his plea agreement and the consequences of his guilty plea, including a term of imprisonment, and his plea was knowing and voluntary," Justice Thomas Welch wrote in the decision. 

Welch also noted McKinnon could not adequately show how his attorney was ineffective.

"The defendant clearly failed to show that counsel had failed to investigate his case or that his guilty plea resulted from such a failure," Welch wrote.

Justices Richard Goldenhersh and David Overstreet concurred.

Illinois Fifth District Court of Appeals Case number 5-15-0168

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