Friday, August 10, 2012

Summary 2012 WY 110

Summary of Decision August 10, 2012

Justice Hill delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.


Docket Number: S-11-0050, S-11-0253


Appeal from the District Court of Park County, Honorable Steven R. Cranfill, Judge.

Representing Appellant: Diane Lozano, State Public Defender and Tina N. Olson, Appellate Counsel.

Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; James M. Causey, Senior Assistant Attorney General.

Date of Decision: August 10, 2012

Facts: Pursuant to a plea agreement, Steve Edward Dobbins pleaded no contest to one count of sexual assault in the first degree, a felony, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-302(a)(iii). In this consolidated appeal, Dobbins contended that the district court should have permitted him to withdraw his plea, both before and after sentencing. Specifically, Dobbins complained that he should have been allowed to withdraw his plea of no contest prior to being sentenced because he did not have close assistance of counsel and that he had a fair and just reason to withdraw his plea. Dobbins also argued that he should have been allowed to withdraw his plea of no contest after sentencing because the district court failed to properly advise him as required by W.R.Cr.P. 11, resulting in manifest injustice. According to Dobbins, the district court abused its discretion in denying his pre-sentence and post-sentence motions to withdraw his no contest plea, and that the error of the district court was not harmless. The Court affirmed the denial of both of Dobbins’ motions to withdraw his no contest plea, and affirmed the judgment and sentence.

Issues: The issue, as phrased by Dobbins, is as follows:

Should [Dobbins] be allowed to withdraw his plea because (1) the trial court erred in its advisements to [him], at arraignment and at the change of plea hearing; and (2) the trial court abused its discretion in denying [Dobbins] presentence motion to withdraw his plea?

Holdings: Having found that any error by the district court in its advisements under W.R.Cr.P. 11 did not affect Dobbins’ substantial rights and is, therefore, harmless pursuant to W.R.Cr.P. 11(h); having also found that Dobbins entered into his plea of no contest voluntarily and knowingly, and that at all times Dobbins had close assistance of counsel; the Court affirmed the district court’s denial of both Dobbins’ pre-sentence and post-sentence motions to withdraw his no contest plea. The judgment and sentence entered in this case was, therefore, also affirmed.

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

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