US Law Week

Church Official Had No Right to Lawyer for Pre-Charge Plea Deal

Feb. 22, 2021, 9:03 PM

A church treasurer who pleaded guilty to defrauding his church out of $1 million didn’t have a right to counsel for pre-charge plea negotiations, the Ninth Circuit said Monday, applying the circuit’s bright-line test for when the right attaches.

After Gregory Olson received notice that he was the target of a federal investigation and was being given an offer to settle the case pre-indictment, he was appointed counsel by a court. Olson’s assistant federal public defender conveyed the government’s offer to him, but the negotiations broke down and it was withdrawn.

Olson ultimately pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax...

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