UNEXPECTED Max Schenzel tried to back out of plea deal claiming head injury and memory loss

As we exclusively revealed last month, Unexpected dad Max Schenzel was finally sentenced after pleading guilty to stealing cash, credit cards, and a casino voucher from the sleeping 77-year-old grandmother of a friend. Max was sentenced to 30 months of probation, 3 months in jail, 150 hours of community restitution, and also ordered to pay more than $1,000 for victim restitution and fees. The jail time was delayed, however, with Max’s time behind bars scheduled to begin in May.

Speaking of delays, Max’s court case was held up back in September when his attorney filed a motion for a Rule 11 mental evaluation to determine if Max was able to understand the nature of the proceeding against him and to assist in his defense. After Max was evaluated by experts, it was determined on November 1 that he was indeed mentally competent and the sentencing was rescheduled.

So why did Max’s attorney think he might not be mentally competent to stand trial? We have exclusively obtained court documents from the case that explain what happened.

According to the documents, the defense alleges that Max “fell and hit his head on or about August 13, 2018,” which was after he initially received a plea agreement offer on August 8, but prior to his acceptance of the plea deal on August 15. The timing is crucial because all of the defense’s legal wrangling late in the proceedings seemed to be focused on trying to get Max out of the plea agreement, not to prove that he was not guilty of the crime. (More on that in a minute.)

The defense, who didn’t find out about the injury until the scheduled sentencing in mid-September, then moved for the Rule 11 evaluation after claiming that Max had “no recollection of the circumstances in which he entered the plea or the factual basis that supported the plea.” The defense later iterated the memory loss claim in their motion: “Because of Mr. Schenzel’s recent brain injury, he has no recollection of any discussion with [Public Defender Gene Barnes] or the court regarding this issue.”

Two doctors evaluated Max and determined that his head injury did not result in him being incompetent to stand trial, or apparently unable to enter a plea agreement.

The defense also argued that the court should allow Max to withdraw from his plea agreement due to “manifest injustice.”

I won’t go into all the legalese, but I can summarize by saying that Max apparently wanted to get out of his plea deal because he didn’t realize that the deal would still allow him to be charged with a felony. The confusion seems to center on the class 6 felony charge of “theft from the person of another,” which by definition requires the threat of violence. The defense argued that since the victim was asleep when the theft occurred, that there was no threat of violence.

Prosecutors felt differently:

In this case, the victim, [redacted], was asleep in her bedroom when the defendant entered that room and took her purse. Had [she] woken up during the theft, she could have (and almost certainly would have) resisted the defendant’s attempts to take her purse, just as the victim in Tramble could have resisted the taking of her purse had she realized it was happening. Had [she] awoken and resisted, the defendant would be charged with robbery. Because [she] did not wake, the potential violence that could have arisen from these circumstances remains a mere “threat,” which is sufficient for conviction of the crime of theft from a person under the standard.

The prosecution concluded:

There is no objective evidence that the defendant misunderstood any particular term of the plea, or that the defendant’s claim not to remember the change of plea is credible. Further, the factual basis submitted by the parties and approved by the court and the defendant during the plea colloquy is sufficient under Tramble. Therefore, the court should find no manifest injustice and should deny defendant’s motion.

The court agreed with the prosecution and denied the defense’s motion to allow Max to withdraw from his plea agreement — either because of his brain injury, or because of “manifest injustice.”

TLC Unexpected dad Max Schenzel arrest mug shot

As far as an update on Max and Chloe, it is our understanding that the Injunction Against Harassment is still in place preventing the two of them to have any contact with each other aside from messages in regards to their daughter Ava. Despite the injunction, we have a source that tells us the two are still together — just keeping things on the DL. That seems like a VERY dangerous game to play, however, because Max is currently on probation and I can’t imagine that violating the Injunction would be a good thing for him at all. All it would take is one seemingly innocent Instagram photo of Max and Chloe together posted by a friend to get him into all sorts of trouble.

As far as whether or not Chloe and Max will be on Unexpected Season 3, that is still unclear. Chloe’s co-stars Emiley Noack and Laura Barron have both stated that they will not be back, but there has been nothing from Chloe or Max one way or the other. It certainly seems like the two of them would want to return, but Chloe is still not 18 and I think it would be a hard sell convincing her mom Jessica to return after how she was portrayed last season. We will certainly keep our eyes and ears open and update if we hear anything!

Asa Hawks is a writer and editor for Starcasm. You can contact Asa via Twitter, Facebook, or email at starcasmtips(at)yahoo.com

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