Keith Brown seeks hearing to overturn guilty plea

Father of "The 5 Browns" in prison for molesting daughters


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - Convicted child molester Keith Brown is seeking a hearing that could eventually lead to a new trial.

Brown is the father of the famed "5 Browns," a classical piano ensemble. 

In 2011 he pleaded guilty to sexually molesting his daughters who are members of the piano group.
He is currently serving a 10-years-to-life in prison.  Before pleading guilty in 2011, Brown was asked key questions about his state of mind.


Judge David Mortensen: "Do you believe these actions are freely and voluntarily?"
Keith Brown: (inaudible)
Judge Mortensen:  "Are you under the influence of any drugs or medication?"
Brown:  (inaudible)

And his answers are at the heart of a motion that is requesting an evidentiary hearing by Brown's new attorney, Taylor Hartley with Morley and Associates.

Kent Morgan isn't Brown's attorney but is a former prosecutor and now a defense attorney.

"What he's attempting to do is to indicate when he entered a plea of guilty that the plea wasn't legally made," said Morgan.

In the court filing, Hartley claimed those inaudible responses showed he was in no condition to be part of the case.
In the petition for a hearing, Hartley claimed "Mr. Brown was administered mind-altering medications for pain.  Mr. Brown was also traumatized emotionally because of the injuries to his wife and because of his own close-encounter with death.
About a week before he pleaded guilty, Brown and his wife were involved in a one-car accident in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

In the court filing, Hartley claimed Brown was suffering from severe trauma, anxiety and a broken back.

In court documents, Hartley stated "Mr. Brown was not in any condition to knowingly and voluntarily participate in his own defense for a period of time after the accident .. unable to accurately answer questions ... or make decisions."

The petition also blamed Brown's previous attorney for poor legal advice. 

In the filing, Harley stated: "Mr. Brown‘s first attorneys were ineffective in the pleading stage by taking advantage of Mr. Brown‘s impaired mental and physical condition as detailed in the Statement of Facts here. In addition, his attorneys made empty promises to induce him to plead and to have him maintain his plea before sentencing. They told Mr. Brown that they would secure his eligibility for parole and early release from prison at two or three years into his sentence and that he should take this plea deal. This idea was reiterated after he made his plea, but before sentencing occurred, which prevented him from further investigation that would have led him to seek withdrawal of his plea. The promise was patently false legal advice. This deficient performance and potential fraud resulted in prejudice."

When Morgan was asked what were Brown's chances for an evidentiary hearing, he said it was unlikely.

"It would not be a case that I would tell my client that you've got a good chance of success," Morgan said.

The state Attorney General's office has responded to the request for an evidentiary hearing.
In their legal response, state prosecutors claimed Brown's reasoning has no merit and should be dismissed.
Prosecutors also claimed the deadline to file an appeal has long passed.

 


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