August 12, 2006
CrimProf Robert Batey Discusses Claiming Mental Incompetence After A Guilty Plea
From sptimes.com: Stetson University College of Law CrimProf Robert Batey speaks to the St. Petersburg Times about Kristina Gaime's new motion stating she was not mentally competent when she accepted her plea deal in a 1999 murder-suicide plot.
In the midst of a custody dispute with ex-husband Stephen Rotell, Gaime was accused of drugging the boys, ages 6 and 8, loading them into her minivan with her and starting the engine in a closed garage.
By pleading guilty last year to second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder, Gaime got a 20-year prison sentence, but she would likely only have to serve up to 12 years. The deal avoided a possible life sentence and spared Gaime's surviving son from having to testify against his mother.
Now Gaime, referring to herself in the third-person as the "defendant," says she is seeking "post-conviction remedies because she believes ... that she was not competent to stand trial and was not mentally competent at the time she entered a voluntary plea."
Legally, Gaime has a tough road ahead, said CrimProf Robert Batey. "It's common for these types of claims to be made," he said. "It's uncommon for them to succeed." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
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