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State v. Peterson

Supreme Court of North Dakota

May 16, 2019

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Joshua Michael Peterson, Defendant and Appellant

          Appeal from the District Court of Ward County, North Central Judicial District, the Honorable Douglas L. Mattson, Judge.

          Christopher W. Nelson, Assistant State's Attorney, Minot, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.

          Benjamin D. Migdal, Minot, ND, for defendant and appellant.

          Vande Walle, Chief Justice.

         [¶1] Joshua Michael Peterson appealed from an order denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. We conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Peterson's motion. We affirm.

         I

         [¶2] On April 30, 2015, the State filed a complaint charging Peterson with class B felony burglary in violation of N.D.C.C. §§ 12.1-22-02; 12.1-22-02(2)(b); and 12.1-32-01. Peterson pleaded guilty to one count of burglary at a June 10, 2015 change of plea hearing. Early in the hearing, the district court mistakenly referred to the burglary charge as a class C felony. The court shortly corrected itself and asked Peterson if he still wished to plead guilty. After discussion with his attorney, Peterson stated he still wished to plead guilty.

         [¶3] The State provided a factual basis for the plea, stating Peterson fled the scene of the crime in a manner that appeared to be an attempt to strike the arresting officer with a vehicle. Peterson's attorney stated:

Your Honor, just in regard to the vehicle. He was fleeing the scene. He wasn't directing anything at an officer, but he was fleeing the scene in his vehicle. And his vehicle was eventually brought to a halt.

         Peterson agreed with his counsel's statement. The court found Peterson knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently entered the guilty plea and there was a sufficient factual basis. Peterson received 10 years' imprisonment, with all but five suspended.

         [¶4] In September 2015, the State moved to amend the judgment to reflect that Peterson pleaded guilty under N.D.C.C. § 12.1-22-02(2)(b) and the requirement that he serve eighty-five percent of his sentence under N.D.C.C. § 12.1-32-09.1 applied. The court issued an amended criminal judgment on February 16, 2016, which this Court upheld on appeal. See State v. Peterson, 2016 ND 192, 886 N.W.2d 71. Many of the issues raised in the current appeal were peripherally touched upon in that appeal. Id. On February 29, 2016, the court entered a second amended judgment changing the listed statute violated from N.D.C.C. § 12.1-22-02 to N.D.C.C. § 12.1-22-02(2)(b). Peterson filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea on July 6, 2018. After a hearing, the court denied the motion.

         II

         [¶5] On appeal, Peterson argues his motion to withdraw his guilty plea should have been granted because the sentencing court did not sufficiently comply with N.D.R.Crim.P. 11. Peterson also argues his attorney's failure to inform him that the eighty-five percent rule attached to a conviction under N.D.C.C. § 12.1-22-02(2)(b) fell below the objective standard of reasonable representation. In the alternative, Peterson argues manifest injustice requires withdrawal of his guilty plea.

         [¶6] This Court reviews a district court's denial of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea under the abuse of discretion standard. State v. Feist, 2006 ND 21, ¶ 22, 708 N.W.2d 870. A district court abuses its discretion when it acts in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or capricious manner, or misinterprets or misapplies the law. Id. The provisions of N.D.R.Crim.P. 11 "are mandatory and substantial compliance is required to ensure a defendant knowingly and voluntarily enters a guilty plea." State v. Yost, 2018 ND 157, ¶ 17, 914 N.W.2d 508. "The purpose of the procedure outlined in Rule 11(b) is to ensure that the defendant is fully aware of the consequences of a guilty plea before he enters his plea." Id. "N.D.R.Crim.P. 11 does not require the trial court's advice to follow a ritualistic, ...


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