2013 Unpublished Opinion No. 549
Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bonner County. Hon. Steven C. Verby, District Judge.
Judgment of conviction for trafficking in methamphetamine by manufacturing, affirmed.
Sara B. Thomas, State Appellate Public Defender; Shawn F. Wilkerson, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.
Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Nicole L. Schafer, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
Brandon Neil Crump appeals from his judgment of conviction for trafficking in methamphetamine by attempted manufacturing. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
In 2011, Crump was charged with one count of trafficking in methamphetamine or amphetamine by manufacturing and one count of felony injury to a child. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Crump pled guilty to trafficking in methamphetamine by attempted manufacture, I.C. §§ 37-2732B(a)(3) and 18-204, and the state dismissed the charge of felony injury to a child. Crump filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea prior to sentencing. The district court denied the motion and sentenced Crump to a unified term of four years, with a minimum period of confinement of two years. Crump appeals.
Crump argues the district court abused its discretion by denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Specifically, Crump contends the district court's factual finding that Crump understood his guilty plea would expose him to a mandatory minimum sentence of two years is not supported by substantial and competent evidence.
Whether to grant a motion to withdraw a guilty plea lies in the discretion of the district court and such discretion should be liberally applied. State v. Freeman, 110 Idaho 117, 121, 714 P.2d 86, 90 (Ct. App. 1986). Appellate review of the denial of a motion to withdraw a plea is limited to determining whether the district court exercised sound judicial discretion as distinguished from arbitrary action. Id. We defer to a trial court's factual findings if supported by substantial and competent evidence in the record. State v. Porter, 130 Idaho 772, 789, 948 P.2d 127, 144 (1997).
In denying Crump's motion to withdraw his guilty plea, the district court stated:
I am familiar with the required standard on appeal examining this type of decision that an appeal from the denial of such a motion to allow the withdrawal of a guilty plea results in the burden being on the moving party--in this case Mr. Crump--to establish that there is a claimed abuse of discretion.
I further recognize that in the proper exercise of discretion, the Court is required to identify the conflicting factors which should bear on the decision and must arrive at a resolution which is based on a well-reasoned consideration of the factors that have been identified.
So what do we have in this situation? We have Mr. Crump who entered a plea of guilty in front of Judge Reinhardt. The issue presented initially--and I'll cover that--is, is there an agreement? Well, there is an agreement. It's a written--it's a written agreement that appears to me to be written, but the agreement does appear to be ambiguous, at least in certain respects.
If there is ambiguity, which there appears to be, that ambiguity can be clarified by what I'm going to characterize ...