Man asks to revoke guilty plea for sexual assault of 8-year-old

New attorney says old attorney gave him bad counsel



The 26-year-old former Winlock man sentenced to between 25 years and life in prison for the sexual assault of a then 8-year-old girl in a Mossyrock campground in 2007 filed a motion requesting to revoke his guilty plea this month.

Reginald L. Juntunen, who pleaded guilty in November 2012 to first-degree child molestation with a predatory stipulation, was sentenced a month later to a minimum of 25 years and a potential life prison sentence. During his sentencing hearing in December 2012, Juntunen cried and apologized for his actions.

“My parents were tireless in their efforts to instill good qualities in mine and my sibling’s hearts,” Juntunen said at the time. “As an early teen, I strayed away to a life heavily influenced by alcohol and drugs. My morals and values were lost in my addictions. I became a complete stranger to my family.”

Juntunen’s new attorney, however, will argue at 2 p.m. Jan. 31 that his client should have a second chance at a new prison sentence.

“Before pleading guilty, Reggie did not receive a fair opportunity to defend himself in this case or to make an informed decision about pleading guilty,” Juntunen’s new Seattle-based attorney, Mitch Harrison, wrote in a motion to revoke guilty pleas. “He pleaded guilty to an astonishing 25-year minimum sentence. … But his plea was the product of ineffective advice of counsel.”

In the 37-page motion to revoke the guilty plea, Harrison wrote that his client had little contact with his court-appointed attorney, Chris Baum, in the five months between his arrest and guilty plea.

According to the motion, Baum met with his client only “three or four times” before his sentencing hearing. During each of those meetings, Baum appeared to be “rushed.” The motion also says that Baum went on two vacations to Hawaii during that five months.

Deputy Prosecutor Joely O’Rourke, who handled the prosecution against Juntunen, said that despite Harrison’s claims, Juntunen was thoroughly advised of the rights he gave up by accepting the plea agreement. She also said Lewis County judges are very diligent in going through the defendant’s rights prior to accepting a plea.