from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Lynn G. Norton, District
of conviction for possession of a controlled substance and
introduction of major contraband into a correctional
facility, vacated; judgment for restitution,
vacated and case remanded.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Jenny C.
Swinford, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Kale D. Gans, Deputy
Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
Enrique Pagan-Lopez appeals from his judgment of conviction
for possession of a controlled substance and introducing
major contraband into a correctional facility. Pagan-Lopez
also appeals from the district court's judgment for
restitution. For the reasons set forth below, we vacate the
judgment of conviction, vacate the judgment for restitution,
and remand for further proceedings.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
were dispatched to a silent residential alarm at
approximately 5 a.m. As part of their investigation, the
officers stopped a vehicle to investigate whether "it
was potentially involved in the burglary alarm."
Pagan-Lopez was a passenger in that vehicle. During the
course of the stop, the officers discovered that Pagan-Lopez
had an outstanding arrest warrant. He was arrested on the
warrant and transported to jail. During a search at the jail,
methamphetamine was discovered in his sock. The State charged
Pagan-Lopez with possession of a controlled substance, I.C.
§ 37-2732(c), and introduction of major contraband into
a correctional facility, I.C. §§ 18-2510(3) and
filed a motion to suppress the evidence discovered as a
result of the search, arguing that the officers lacked
reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle and that the search
at the jail was the fruit of the unlawful seizure. The
district court denied Pagan-Lopez's motion, finding that
there was reasonable suspicion to conduct the stop and,
therefore, the evidence discovered as a result of that stop
to trial, Pagan-Lopez and the State reached an agreement in
which Pagan-Lopez agreed to plead guilty to possession of a
controlled substance and, in return, the State would dismiss
the introduction of major contraband into a correctional
facility charge. The State also agreed to certain sentencing
recommendations. However, after questioning Pagan-Lopez, the
district court refused to accept Pagan-Lopez's guilty
plea, unless it was entered as an
Alfordplea, finding that
he had a potential defense based on his representation that
he possessed the methamphetamine with the intent to keep it
away from children and dispose of it at some point. The case,
therefore, proceeded to trial and a jury found Pagan-Lopez
guilty of both charges. The district court subsequently
entered a judgment of conviction and an order for restitution
and judgment for prosecution costs. Pagan-Lopez appeals.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to accept a defendant's guilty plea is reviewed for an
abuse of discretion. State v. Jones, 129 Idaho 471,
474, 926 P.2d 1318, 1321 (Ct. App. 1996). When a trial
court's discretionary decision is reviewed on appeal, the
appellate court conducts a multi-tiered inquiry to determine
whether the lower court: (1) correctly perceived the issue as
one of discretion; (2) acted within the boundaries of such
discretion; (3) acted consistently with any legal standards
applicable to the specific choices before it; and (4) reached
its decision by an exercise of reason. State v.
Herrera, 164 Idaho 261, 270, 429 P.3d 149, 158 (2018).
raises five claims of error on appeal: (1) the district court
erred in denying his motion to suppress; (2) the district
abused its discretion by refusing to accept his guilty plea;
(3) the district court abused its discretion when it excluded
certain testimony at trial; (4) a double jeopardy violation;
and (5) the district court abused its discretion by ordering
restitution for the costs of prosecution. We hold that the
district court erred in rejecting Pagan-Lopez's
unconditional guilty plea to possession of a controlled
substance on the basis that he had a potential defense even
though he indicated his desire to waive that defense.
Consequently, we decline to address Pagan-Lopez's
remaining claims with the exception of his restitution claim.
As to Pagan-Lopez's restitution claim, we vacate the
judgment for restitution.
asserts that the district court abused its discretion by
rejecting his guilty plea because the proffered guilty plea
satisfied all of the criteria necessary for its acceptance
and Pagan-Lopez should not have been required to pursue a
defense he wanted to waive. The State responds that it was
within the district court's discretion to conclude that
there was an inadequate factual basis for Pagan-Lopez's
guilty plea and, as such, the district court could reject it.
We hold that Pagan-Lopez's guilty plea should not have
been rejected on the basis that he had a potential defense
because he was entitled to waive that defense and plead
pretrial plea agreement contemplated that Pagan-Lopez would
enter an unconditional guilty plea to
possession of a controlled substance and the State would
dismiss the charge for introducing major contraband into a
correctional facility. The agreement also required the State
to be bound by certain sentencing recommendations and
contemplated that Pagan-Lopez would pay restitution.
the plea colloquy, Pagan-Lopez responded to a series of
questions from the district court regarding the validity of
his plea. Pagan-Lopez's responses to those questions
included that he read and understood the guilty plea advisory
form; he did not require further explanation of the contents
of the advisory form; he personally signed and initialed the
advisory form; he understood the proceedings and was not
impaired by any conditions or medications; he was mentally
and physically fit to proceed; he was not coerced into
entering a guilty plea; he understood he was not required to
enter a guilty plea; and he was waiving his right to appeal
certain issues by pleading guilty. The district court then
engaged in the following colloquy with Pagan-Lopez:
Q. Do you want to enter into this plea agreement?
A. Yes; I do.
Q. And do you want to enter a guilty plea ...