Nelson Hopkins loses appeal in Blue Springs robbery case

03/11/2014 3:37 PM

03/11/2014 3:37 PM

Missouri appellate judges on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by a Kansas City-area community justice activist who in 2012 pleaded guilty to two second-degree robbery counts.

Nelson Hopkins Sr., maintained he should have been allowed to make a statement at his sentencing hearing. Further, his lawyers insisted that Hopkins didn’t waive his right to file a direct appeal challenging court error at the sentencing hearing by pleading guilty.

The state responded that because Hopkins pleaded guilty, he waived his right to direct appeal, except for certain challenges.

“We agree with the state,” the court’s decision stated.

The appellate judges heard oral arguments regarding Hopkins’ appeal in February at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Because of Hopkins’ two previous robbery convictions, the court considered him a “prior and persistent offender.” A Jackson County Circuit Court judge sentenced Hopkins to two 20-year prison terms, to run concurrently.

Brian Burnes, bburnes@kcstar.com

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