Thursday, April 19, 2012

Summary 2012 WY 61

Summary of Decision April 19, 2012

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


Docket Number: S 11 0123


Appeal from the District Court of Converse County, Honorable John C. Brooks, Judge

Representing Appellant (Plaintiff/Defendant):  Diane Lozano, State Public Defender, PDP; Tina N. Olson, Appellate Counsel; Kirk A. Morgan, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel.

Representing Appellee (Plaintiff/Defendant): Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Matthias L. Sayer, Assistant Attorney General

Date of Decision: April 19, 2012

Facts: Pursuant to a plea agreement, Christina Clark pled guilty to two counts of third degree sexual abuse of a minor.  The district court sentenced her to two concurrent terms of six to ten years in prison.  She appealed from the judgment and sentence, claiming her guilty pleas were not voluntary and she is entitled to a new sentencing hearing because the district court failed to mention probation in the written judgment and sentence.

Issues: Ms. Clark presented the following issues for this Court’s determination:  Did the district court err in accepting appellant’s guilty plea, as there was not an adequate foundation established to ensure that it was a voluntarily and informed decision?  Is reversal for a new sentencing required under the rule mandated in Trumbull v. State, 2009 WY 103, 214 P.3d 978 (Wyo. 2009)?  

The State asserted the district court properly accepted Ms. Clark’s guilty pleas after receiving sufficient information to ensure they were the product of a voluntary and informed decision.  The State also contended the district court appropriately considered probation as an alternative sentence as required by Trumbull and its failure to so state in the written judgment was merely a clerical error requiring remand to correct the omission.

Holdings: The Court affirmed Ms. Clark’s conviction and sentence and remanded to the district court for entry of an amended sentence in accordance with this opinion.

Chief Justice Kite delivered the opinion for the court.

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