Summary of Decision December 23, 2013
Justice Davis delivered the opinion of the Court. Reversed and remanded.
Case Name: DEBORA McEWAN v. THE STATE OF WYOMING
Docket Number: S-12-0252
Appeal from the District Court of Big Horn County the Honorable Steven R. Cranfill, Judge
Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Elisabeth M.W. Trefonas, Assistant Public Defender
Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Jeffrey Pope, Assistant Attorney General
Date of Decision: December 23, 2013
Facts: Appellant Debora McEwan was convicted of two felony counts of obtaining public welfare benefits by misrepresentation after entering guilty pleas without admitting guilt under North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 91 S. Ct. 160, 27 L. Ed. 2d 162 (1970). Our recent decision in Balderson v. State, 2013 WY 107, 309 P.3d 809 (Wyo. 2013), requires us to reverse McEwan’s conviction and remand with instructions to reinstate her initial not guilty plea because the district court did not provide the required statutory firearms advisement when she changed her plea. Any other issues relating to the taking of a guilty plea can be addressed on remand if she chooses to enter a guilty plea rather than go to trial.
McEwan also claims that she was denied her constitutional and rules-based rights to a speedy trial. We find no violation of those rights. She also claims error in the district court’s order of restitution and the manner in which her original attorney was replaced, but we do not rule on those issues because her conviction will be vacated and the district court may resolve them on remand.
Issues: 1) Must her two guilty pleas be set aside because the district court failed to give the advisements required by W.R.Cr.P. 11 and Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-11-507? 2) Was she deprived of her constitutional right to a speedy trial or the complementary right provided by W.R.Cr.P. 48? 3) Did the district court abuse its discretion in denying McEwan’s motion to withdraw her guilty plea? 4) Was the district court’s order relating to restitution illegal? 5) Did the district court commit plain error by allowing one public defender to substitute for another in representing McEwan?
Holdings/Conclusion: We reverse McEwan’s conviction and remand with instructions to reinstate her not guilty plea because the district court did not advise her at the time of taking her guilty plea that a felony conviction would prevent her from possessing firearms and being employed in professions that require the carrying of a firearm. Because McEwan may choose to go to trial or enter a guilty plea on remand, this Court will not address other issues she raises relating to the district court’s advice to and colloquy with her at the time of taking her plea, issues regarding the denial of her motion to withdraw her plea, restitution, or substitution of counsel. We find no violation of the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial or of the speedy trial provisions of Wyoming Rule of Criminal Procedure 48.
Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.
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Monday, December 23, 2013
Summary of Decision December 23, 2013