Thursday, March 08, 2012

Summary 2012 WY 34

Summary of Decision March 8, 2012

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

Case Name: Charles Moronese v. The State of Wyoming

Citation: 2012 WY 34

Docket Number: S-11-0183


Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, the Honorable Thomas T.C. Campbell, Judge.

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

Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Senior Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General.

Date of Decision: March 8, 2012

Facts: Charles Moronese, the appellant, pled guilty to attempted second-degree murder and received a sentence of 20 to 22 years (or 240 to 264 months) imprisonment. More than four years after starting his sentence, the appellant filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence. He alleged that his sentence violated Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-13-201 (LexisNexis 2011) because the minimum term was greater than ninety percent of the maximum term. Rather than decrease the minimum term below the statutory minimum, as requested by the appellant, the district court increased the maximum term from 264 months to 267 months. The appellant appealed, arguing that increasing his sentence after he had begun to serve that sentence violated double jeopardy.

Issue: Whether the district court violated the double jeopardy provisions of the Wyoming and United States Constitutions by increasing the term of the appellant’s prison sentence following the appellant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence.

Holdings: The appellant was sentenced to 20 to 22 years imprisonment for a crime punishable by a term of 20 years to life. This sentence was illegal because it violated the statutory requirement that a minimum term may not be more than ninety percent of the maximum term. As a result of the appellant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence, the district court correctly increased the maximum term from 264 months to 267 months. The corrected sentence should, however, reflect the appropriate credit for the time the appellant served.

The Court affirmed the order granting the motion to correct illegal sentence, but remanded for inclusion in that sentence of credit for time served.

Justice Voigt delivered the opinion for the Court.

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