WALLA WALLA -- The state Court of Appeals has rejected a Walla Walla man's contention that his guilty pleas to two rapes are invalid.
Joshua A. Rutherford, 21, pleaded guilty in April 2012 to having sex with a teenage female acquaintance without her consent about three years earlier and with an underage girl in 2010.
The plea hearing was presided over by then-Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht, who later sentenced Rutherford to two years and 10 months in prison. Schacht has since retired.
Rutherford appealed, claiming that at the plea hearing Schacht failed to inform him of the specific constitutional rights he was forfeiting by pleading guilty.
In an opinion filed this week, a three-judge panel of the appeals court based in Spokane rejected Rutherford's claim and affirmed the validity of his guilty pleas.
The panel found that during the plea hearing, Rutherford said he understood he was giving up certain constitutional rights, which are listed in the plea statement he had also signed.
Also, the panel upheld Schacht's assessment of $1,767.50 in costs and fees Rutherford will have to pay.