Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Timothy Lee Hansen, District Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Perry, Judge Pro Tem
2013 Unpublished Opinion No. 472
Order denying motion to withdraw guilty plea, affirmed.
Douglas James Steinemer appeals from the judgment of conviction entered following the denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
On June 28, 2003, Steinemer kidnapped a woman in Mountain Home at knifepoint, bound her hands, covered her eyes and mouth with tape, and transferred her to the cab of a semi- truck. Steinemer and another individual, later identified as Hans Michael Holsopple, Steinemer's biological father, proceeded to drive from Mountain Home toward the Oregon-Idaho border, stopping multiple times to rape the victim who was being held in the sleeper area of the truck's cabin. The two men eventually released the victim, and she was able to contact a friend who took her to the hospital. DNA samples were collected as part of a sexual assault examination, and the DNA profiles of two unknown individuals were entered into a national DNA database. In 2009, police were notified that Steinemer's DNA profile, which apparently had been recently added to the national database as part of an unrelated Florida case, appeared to match the profile of one of the victim's previously unidentified attackers. Steinemer was arrested in February 2010. After being advised of his Miranda rights, Steinemer admitted to kidnapping and raping the victim.*fn1
Steinemer was indicted on one count of kidnapping in the first degree and three counts of rape. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Steinemer pleaded guilty to kidnapping in the first degree and to one count of rape, and the remaining rape charges were dismissed. Approximately six weeks later, Steinemer filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. He asserted that, prior to pleading guilty, he had not seen or heard the recording of a police interview with the victim in which the victim made statements that, according to Steinemer, supported a defense to the crimes, and that he would not have pleaded guilty if he had seen the recorded interview. After a hearing, the district court denied Steinemer's motion to withdraw his guilty plea. The district court imposed concurrent unified sentences of thirty years with thirteen-year determinate terms. Steinemer appeals.
Idaho Criminal Rule 33(c) governs the withdrawal of guilty pleas.*fn2 Whether to grant a motion to withdraw a guilty plea is left to the sound discretion of the district court, and such discretion should be liberally applied. State v. Arthur, 145 Idaho 219, 222, 177 P.3d 966, 969 (2008). The defendant bears the burden of showing that withdrawal of the plea should be allowed. State v. Dopp, 124 Idaho 481, 485, 861 P.2d 51, 55 (1993). Rule 33(c) distinguishes between pleas made prior to and after sentencing, exacting a less rigorous burden for presentence motions. Dopp, 124 Idaho at 485, 861 P.2d at 55.
To withdraw a guilty plea prior to sentencing, the defendant need only show a "just reason" for withdrawing the plea. Id. However, even when the motion is presented before sentencing, if it occurs after the defendant has learned of the content of the presentence report or has received other information about the probable sentence, the district court may temper its liberality by weighing the defendant's apparent motive. Arthur, 145 Idaho at 222, 177 P.3d at 969, State v. Hocker, 115 Idaho 137, 139, 765 P.2d 162, 164 (Ct. App. 1988). The failure to present and support a plausible reason will dictate against granting withdrawal, even absent prejudice to the prosecution. Dopp, 124 Idaho at 485, 861 P.2d at 55.
Steinemer filed his motion to withdraw his guilty plea before sentencing, but after he had the opportunity to review the results of the psychosexual evaluation with counsel. Even if we assume that it would have been appropriate for the district court to "temper its liberality" in these circumstances, see State v. Hawkins, 115 Idaho 719, 722, 769 P.2d 596, 599 (Ct. App. 1989) aff'd, 117 Idaho 285, 787 P.2d 271 (1990), the district court did not do so. Instead, the district court determined that Steinemer had not met his burden under the most liberal "just reason" standard. Thus, the critical question in this appeal is whether Steinemer's assertion that he had not seen or heard the recording of a police interview with the victim constitutes a just reason for withdrawing the plea.
The police conducted a recorded interview with the victim on June 29, 2003, during which the victim made various statements that Steinemer asserts would support an affirmative defense of duress or coercion.*fn3 In an affidavit, Steinemer states, "The statements of the victim I am referring to are her articulating my father was in control and when she was asked whether I was in fear for my life; she said no, because I was following his commands." Although Steinemer indicated, on a guilty plea advisory form, that he had reviewed the evidence provided during discovery including recordings, the district court determined that Steinemer had not, in fact, viewed or listened to recordings of interview before he entered the guilty plea.*fn4 However, it is undisputed that Steinemer was aware of the victim's statements before he pleaded guilty. Even if Steinemer did not view or listen to the recordings of the interview, the same information was available to him through the police reports and the grand jury transcripts. According to the police reports of the interview, the victim reported that Steinemer told her "he had never done anything like this before" and that his father was "making him do this." The ...