Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Summary 2013 WY 50

Summary of Decision April 30, 2013

Chief Justice Kite delivered the opinion for the Court. Reversed.


Docket Number: S-12-0173

URL: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions.aspx

Appeal from the District Court of Albany County, Honorable Jeffrey A. Donnell, Judge.

Representing Appellant: Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender, PDP; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel. Kirk A. Morgan, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel.

Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Theodore R. Racines, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Jeffrey Pope, Assistant Attorney General.

Date of Decision: April 30, 2013

Facts: Kiet Hoang Nguyen challenged the judgment and sentence entered after he pleaded guilty to one count of larceny. He claimed that the factual basis provided by the State for his guilty plea did not meet the elements of larceny, specifically the “taking” requirement. Apparently recognizing the factual basis did not establish the crime of larceny, the State argued that his conviction should, nevertheless, be affirmed because Mr. Nguyen understood his conduct was criminal and he waived any challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence when he pleaded guilty.

Issues: Mr. Nguyen presents the following issue on appeal:

Did the trial court err when it accepted Mr. Nguyen’s guilty plea without obtaining a sufficient factual basis to support the offense of larceny?

The State phrases the issue differently:

Requiring a district court to accept a factual basis for a guilty plea ensures a defendant understands his conduct was criminal and is not misled into waiving substantial rights. The factual basis for Kiet Nguyen’s guilty plea showed he deposited potentially forged checks from accounts with insufficient funds and then withdrew some of the money before the bank knew. Was there a sufficient factual basis for Nguyen to understand his conduct was criminal?

Holdings: The Court concluded the district court committed plain error by entering judgment on Mr. Nguyen’s guilty plea when it was not supported by a sufficient factual basis. Consequently, the Court reversed.

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

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