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State v. Gonzales

Court of Appeals of Idaho

February 17, 2015

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
MATTHEW JAMES GONZALES, Defendant-Appellant

2015 Opinion No. 8

Page 1120

Editorial Note:

This decision is not final until exception of the 21 day petition for rehearing period. Pursuant to rule 118 of the Idaho Appellate Rules.

Appeal from the District Court of the Sixth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bannock County. Hon. David C. Nye, District Judge.

Order denying motion to withdraw guilty plea, vacated and case remanded.

Sara B. Thomas, State Appellate Public Defender; Sally J. Cooley, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Sally J. Cooley argued.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Kenneth K. Jorgensen, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Kenneth K. Jorgensen argued.

LANSING, Judge. Chief Judge MELANSON and Judge GUTIERREZ CONCUR.

OPINION

LANSING, Judge

Page 1121

Matthew James Gonzales appeals from the district court's order denying his post-sentencing motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

Page 1122

We vacate the order and remand for further proceedings.

I.

BACKGROUND

Gonzales was charged with felony injury to a child, Idaho Code § 18-1501(1), after a two-year-old child in his care suffered injuries. The information alleged that he, " did having the care or custody of a minor child, A.B., cause or permit said child to be injured, or placed in such situation that the child's person or health was endangered."

Pursuant to a plea agreement reached on the morning scheduled for trial, Gonzales pleaded guilty and the State agreed to recommend a unified sentence of six years with three years fixed. At the plea hearing, the district court read the allegations in the information to Gonzales, but did not otherwise review the elements of the crime with him. The district court exceeded the State's recommendation and imposed a unified sentence of ten years with five years fixed. Gonzales filed a notice of appeal from the judgment of conviction.

Thereafter, Gonzales filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Among other things, Gonzales contended that his plea was constitutionally infirm because before pleading guilty, he was not informed of the mental element of the offense, i.e., that guilt would require that he had acted " willfully." Gonzales also later filed an affidavit stating that his defense counsel misinformed him of this element by telling Gonzales that " all [the prosecutor] had to prove was that I was being inattentive" and that " all the State had to prove was that I was in the house and therefore I was responsible for the injuries" to the child.

The district court denied the motion. On appeal, Gonzales asserts that the district court erred by refusing to allow withdrawal of the guilty ...


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