Thursday, May 22, 2008

Summary 2008 WY 56

Summary of Decision issued May 22, 2008

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: Guy v. State

Citation: 2008 WY 56

Docket Number: 06-151

Appeal from the District Court of Albany County, the Honorable Jeffrey A. Donnell, Judge.

Representing Appellant (Defendant): Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Kerin, Appellate Counsel.

Representing Appellee (Plaintiff): Patrick J. Crank, Attorney General; Terry L. Armitage, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Causey, Assistant Attorney General.

Facts/Discussion: Guy sought to overturn his conviction for attempted second-degree murder asserting numerous claims of error.

Prosecutorial Misconduct: Guy alleged numerous instances of prosecutorial misconduct. The Court reviewed them in light of the entire record. The statements in question were from the State’s closing argument and Guy claimed they infringed on his right to remain silent. The Court disagreed and stated he failed to establish plain error. Guy also complained of misstatements made by the prosecutor during closing argument. Guy failed to meet the burden of establishing that he was prejudiced by the alleged misstatements. Guy also objected to the prosecutor’s statement that he stood behind the officer and the investigation in the matter. The Court noted that the quality of the police investigation was a minor issue and stated they did not view the prosecutor’s improper comment to be significant in light of the eyewitness testimony regarding the incident.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel:
Guy claimed it was ineffective assistance by counsel to advise he not testify at his trial because of his prior criminal history. The Court found defense counsel’s advice was not unreasonable. They relied on the district court’s analysis from the Calene hearing. Guy claimed ineffective assistance of counsel because counsel allowed two witnesses called by the State to testify that Guy routinely carried a knife. The fact that Guy customarily carried a knife of a size consistent with the victim’s injury was unquestionably relevant. Defense counsel chose not to call a witness to testify that Guy had lost the knife prior to the incident believing that calling the witness would serve no useful purpose. The Court found no fault with that decision. Guy also contended there was error because an officer was not called as a witness. The Court reviewed the record observing that it supported their decision that Guy failed to establish that his trial counsel was ineffective because he did not call the officer as a witness at trial. The Court reviewed the testimony in the Calene hearing as well as the court record. The Court agreed with the district court that Guy had not been prejudiced.
Sufficiency of the Evidence:
The Court stated that even though no person testified to witnessing the stabbing, purpose or malice had been sufficiently proven. The Court concluded the State had presented sufficient evidence to allow a reasonable jury to convict.
Excessive Security:
Guy objected to security personnel accompanying him when he moved about the court. The State has a legitimate interest in maintaining custody at trial. Guy failed to establish that the measures utilized were exceptional or that he was prejudiced by the precautions approved by the district court.
Constitutionality of Attempted Second-Degree Murder:
The Court next considered his as applied constitutional claim. Guy had not entered a guilty plea and accordingly, the exception applied by the Court in Armijo and Rutti was inappropriate. The Court declined Guy’s challenge.
Guy also asserted other incidents of misconduct occurred during the prosecutor’s closing argument. The Court declined to address the issues because he failed to establish prejudice. The Court also stated that as a result of their detailed review of the record and analysis of the legal issues, they did not find any merit in his claim of cumulative error.

Holding: Guy failed to meet the burden of establishing that he was prejudiced by the alleged misstatements. Defense counsel’s actions were found to be within the wide range of competent assistance. The State presented sufficient evidence to allow a reasonable jury to convict. Guy was not prejudiced by the security precautions taken. Because Guy had not entered a guilty plea, his as applied challenge was declined by the Court.


J. Burke delivered the decision.

Link: .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

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