Monday, December 23, 2013

Summary 2013 WY 158

Summary of Decision December 23, 2013

Justice Davis delivered the opinion of the Court. Reversed and remanded.


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.

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note, when you look at the opinion, that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quotation, the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance.]

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