Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.
Case Name: Brown v. State
Citation: 2008 WY 9
Docket Number: 06-251; S-07-0127
Appeal from the
Representing Appellant (Defendant): Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Kerin, Appellate Counsel; and David E. Westling. (Case No. 06-251)
Pro Se (Case No. S-07-0127)
Representing Appellee (Plaintiff): Patrick J. Crank, Attorney General; Terry L. Armitage, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Paul S. Rehurek, Senior Assistant Attorney General.
Facts/Discussion: The Court consolidated the two appeals. In March 2000, Brown was adjudged guilty of the crime of operating an unlawful clandestine laboratory operation and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, after he entered nolo contendere pleas to those offenses. Brown contended that the State violated the terms of his plea bargain/immunity promise. Shortly after the State court proceedings associated with the plea agreement were concluded, Brown was charged with and convicted of several serious firearms crimes in Federal court. Brown contended that the court erroneously failed to suppress statements Brown made in exchange for an implicit agreement with state authorities. The record from the Court of Appeals demonstrated that the state prosecutor told Brown that any information he provided would not be used in state proceedings and that he would not receive protection from federal charges. Brown expressly acknowledged that he understood the terms. Brown’s clearly expressed complaint was that the State breached its plea agreement by cooperating with federal authorities with respect to prosecution against him in Federal court.
Subject matter jurisdiction is reviewed de novo. The record established that Brown did not actively pursue a remedy for the asserted breach of his immunity/plea agreement until six years after his State court sentencing. The Court noted that in Nixon v. State they presented a detailed discussion of the operative theories that apply in circumstances such as presented in the instant case. The general rule is that a case becomes final after judgment and sentence is entered and an appellate decision affirming the conviction has been made or the time for taking an appeal expires without perfection of an appeal or after the voluntary dismissal of such an appeal. Once a criminal case becomes final pursuant to the general rule, a trial court loses the power to act in that case unless it is expressly permitted to do so by statute or court rule.
Holding: The Court concluded the district court did not have the jurisdiction to entertain the pleadings filed by Brown. Therefore, the Court lacked jurisdiction as well. The appeals were dismissed and remanded back to the district court with directions to dismiss all of Brown’s pleadings for lack of jurisdiction. The Court determined that Brown has exhausted all of his state remedies with respect to the convictions at issue in the matter. The district court and Supreme Court clerks were authorized to decline to permit the filing of any further papers from Brown relating to these convictions, unless Brown obtains consent first.
J. Hill delivered the decision.
Link: http://tinyurl.com/2atwcm .
[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.]