from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the
State of Idaho, Kootenai County, Hon. Cynthia K.C. Meyer,
decision of the district court is reversed and remanded with
Law, PLLC, Coeur d'Alene, for Appellant. Katherine J.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, Boise, for Respondent.
Theodore S. Tollefson argued.
Brian Sunseri appeals from the decision of the district court
affirming the magistrate court's order denying
Sunseri's motion to withdraw his guilty plea. We reverse
the decision of the district court and remand with
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
was arrested on Friday, April 15, 2016, and charged by
uniform citation with two misdemeanors: domestic violence
committed in the presence of a child, a violation of Idaho
Code section 19-918(4), and interfering with a 911 call, a
violation of Idaho Code section 18-6810. On Monday, April 18,
2016, Sunseri was in custody when he made his first
appearance before the magistrate court. The magistrate court
advised Sunseri of his rights and the potential penalties
associated with the charges he faced.
Coeur d'Alene City Attorney's Office had previously
lodged with the magistrate court a document
styled as "Waiver of Appearance," in which it
waived the right to be present and advised the magistrate
court of its plea offer to Sunseri. At his first appearance,
the magistrate court advised Sunseri of the State's offer to
dismiss the charge of interfering with a 911
in exchange for his guilty plea to the charge of domestic
battery in the presence of a child. The State further agreed
to recommend that Sunseri receive a 180 day jail sentence,
with 177 days suspended, a $300 fine, and that he be placed
on unsupervised probation for two years, contingent on his
compliance with the recommended treatment from a combined
domestic violence/substance abuse evaluation. The Waiver of
Appearance further recommended that bond be set at $3, 000
and that Sunseri be ordered to have no contact with his
Sunseri had not met with an attorney to discuss the offer,
the magistrate court advised Sunseri of the terms of the
State's plea offer. Sunseri responded that he understood
and accepted the offer. Sunseri then waived his right to
counsel and entered a plea of guilty to domestic violence in
the presence of a child. The magistrate court then entered a
no contact order and released Sunseri on his own recognizance
after Sunseri signed his acknowledgement of receipt of the no
contact order. Three days later, the magistrate court entered
an order scheduling sentencing for July 29, 2016.
Sunseri consulted with an attorney and learned that his
guilty plea would result in a loss of his right to possess
firearms and ammunition by operation of 18 U.S.C. section
922(g)(9). More than six weeks prior to his scheduled
sentencing date, Sunseri moved to withdraw his guilty plea.
He filed an affidavit in support of his motion in which he
stated that he found the plea offer to be "very
appealing because it made it likely I would be immediately
released from jail and be able to return to my job." He
indicated that he pled guilty because he "wanted to
return to work and did not want to lose my job." Most
pertinent to this appeal, he explained that he wished to
withdraw his plea of guilty because: "I was not advised
that a consequence of my guilty plea was a lifetime ban on my
right to own and possess firearms and ammunition. This right
is very important to me. Had I known I would lose this
important right, I would not have pled guilty."
magistrate court denied Sunseri's motion, finding that
Sunseri had not shown just cause for withdrawal of his guilty
plea. Specifically, the magistrate found that the loss of gun
rights was a collateral consequence of the guilty plea and,
because defendants are not required to be apprised of
collateral consequences in order for their plea to be
considered voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently entered,
held that Sunseri had not offered a just reason to withdraw
his plea. The district court affirmed on the same basis.
Sunseri timely appealed.