Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Summary 2008 WY 147

Summary of Decision issued December 15, 2008

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

Case Name: Demeulenaere v. State

Citation: 2008 WY 147

Docket Number: S-08-0039

Appeal from the District Court of Sublette County, the Honorable Norman E.
Young, Judge.

Representing Appellant Demeulenaere: Diane M. Lozano, Wyoming State Public Defender; Tina N. Kerin, Appellate Counsel; and David E. Westling, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel.

Representing Appellee State: Bruce A. Salzburg, Wyoming Attorney General; Terry L. Armitage, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Leda M. Pojman, Assistant Attorney General.

Facts/Discussion: Appellant was pulled over because a rear brake light on his car was malfunctioning. He was arrested after the sheriff learned his driver’s license was suspended. A search was conducted and cash, drugs and drug paraphernalia was found. After entering a plea of guilty, Demeulenaere sought to withdraw that plea before his sentence was imposed.

Demeulenaere contended that the district court abused its discretion in denying his presentencing motion to withdraw guilty pleas. He analyzed his case using the seven-factor test originally set out in Frame v. State. (1)The appellant asserted his innocence stating that his brake light was working. The record showed that Demeulenaere provided adequate factual basis for the crimes to which he pled guilty but there had been no claim that he was innocent of possessing either methamphetamine or marijuana. (2)As to the second factor, the Court agreed with the State that they would suffer prejudice because the crime occurred over four years ago. (3)Demeulenaere was the cause of much of the delay in the case. (4)The withdrawal would substantially inconvenience the district court because Appellant’s claim of “pretext” would not have resulted in suppression of the evidence and the arresting officer testified he had no previous knowledge that Appellant might be carrying drugs. (5)The record is replete with instances of Demeulenaere’s interaction with counsel. (6)Appellant contended that because of the missing videotape, his pleas were not knowing and voluntary. However the record reveals a thorough colloquy at the time of the plea acceptance establishing a knowing and voluntary character. (7)Finally, the Court agreed with the State that Appellant’s claim of “pretext” had little merit and that the district court could have rationally concluded as it did.

Holding: The Court should allow withdrawal of a defendant’s plea before sentencing if a defendant presents a “fair and just reason” to do so. The district court had conducted a thorough and careful hearing pursuant to W.R.Cr.P. 11 where Demeulenaere entered knowing, voluntary and intelligent pleas of guilty.


J. Hill 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.]

No comments:

Check out our tags in a cloud (from Wordle)!