After now Retired Judge Richard Rome ruled he had no jurisdiction to hear arguments for a 32-year-old Hutchinson woman’s effort to withdraw her no contest pleas in the 1998 death of her mother, she appealed and the Kansas Supreme Court. The case was scheduled to be heard by the high court on Wednesday. But, according to District Attorney Keith Schroeder, the case is already remanded back to District Court.
Tracie Miles had filed a motion with out a lawyer to withdraw her plea arguing the court refusing to do so would amount to “manifest injustice.” But, the judge agreed with the state that she had 1-year to file the motion and failed to do so. But, a Supreme court ruling in another case made it so she in fact did file it in a timely manner.
Miles was 17 when she and her 19-year-old boyfriend, Paul Nelson, were arrested for the murder of Miles’ mother, Sandra Kay Miles. Her body was found March 30, 1998, in her Hutchinson home. She had been struck with a wooden bear statue, then strangled. The two pleaded no contest to intentional first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and forgery, and received “hard 25″ sentences in 1999.
In her motion that she alleges she didn’t understand what she was doing when she entered the pleas. She says her lawyer at the time, Tim Frieden scared her by telling her if she didn’t take the plea, she could get the death penalty or a “Hard 40,” sentence. But, Schroeder argued at the time she was told of her rights.
Miles also argued in her motion that she was only 17 and proven to have a low I-Q by Psychologists Bruce Nystrom. She claims she had no idea what it meant to sign the plea, and claims Frieden coerced her in to signing the guilty plea due to his lack of knowledge in such a serious case, or just pure incompetency as a qualified attorney.
With the Supreme Court ruling sending the case back to Reno County, they are back to square one with her motion to withdraw her plea. That means the case will now be heard at some point by Judge Trish Rose.