Judge denies Joshua Gouker's request to set aside conviction - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Judge denies Joshua Gouker's request to set aside conviction

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A judge has denied Joshua Gouker's request to vacate his conviction.

Gouker recently sought to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was given ineffective assistance from his attorney, but Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Barry Willett denied his motion.

Gouker says he told his attorney "numerous times" that he was not involved in the murder of his 14-year-old stepson, Trey Zwicker, but was going to do whatever he could to protect his son, Josh Young, who was also charged in the slaying, according to recently released court records.

Mark Hall, Gouker's attorney, told him in letters last May that it would be "foolish and counter-productive" to plead guilty in murdering Trey if he was only doing so to protect his son.

According to the order issued today, the content of those letters “supports a finding that Gouker’s counsel was effective.”

The letters were released in court records as part of an attempt by Gouker to withdraw his guilty plea in the murder of Trey, claiming that he was innocent and received "ineffective assistance of counsel."

The order states, based on the content of a letter dated May 9, 2013 from Hall to Gouker, “Counsel’s performance was strategically sound and reasonable.”

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