State v. Crawford, ___ N.C. App. ___, 2021-NCCOA-272 (Jun. 15, 2021)

The defendant entered an Alford plea pursuant to a plea agreement where convictions for felony larceny and felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle would be consolidated for sentencing.  The defendant failed to appear at a scheduled sentencing hearing and was later arrested.  When the defendant appeared over two months later at a sentencing hearing following his arrest, he moved to withdraw his plea but the trial court denied the motion.  Analyzing the non-exclusive list of factors enumerated in State v. Handy, 326 N.C. 532 (1990) bearing on whether a defendant has carried his or her burden of showing some “fair and just reason” supporting withdrawal of the plea, the court found, focusing particularly on the defendant’s failure to show the timeliness of his motion, that the trial court did not err in denying the defendant’s motion to withdraw his plea.

Addressing the defendant’s separate argument that there was an insufficient factual basis for his plea and recognizing precedent holding that a factual basis for an Alford plea cannot be supplied by a plea transcript standing alone, the court distinguished State v. Agnew, 361 N.C. 333 (2007) and concluded that factual information alleged in the indictments coupled with the plea transcript provided a sufficient factual basis for the plea and the trial court did not err in accepting it.