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Greene v. State

August 18, 2009

CHRISTOPHER DUANE GREENE, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Sweetwater County The Honorable Jere A. Ryckman, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Burke, Justice.

Before VOIGT, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, KITE, and BURKE, JJ.

[¶1] Christopher Greene entered guilty pleas to three felony charges of obtaining controlled substances by misrepresentation, and no contest to a charge of attempting to obtain property by false pretenses. He now appeals his convictions on two of the felony charges, and challenges the sentence imposed by the district court. We will affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] Mr. Greene sets forth these two issues:

1. Should Mr. Greene‟s first two convictions have been misdemeanors?

2. Did the trial court err by not making a finding of Mr. Greene‟s status under the Addicted Offender Accountability Act?

FACTS

[¶3] On June 13, 2007, an Information was filed against Mr. Greene charging him with two felony counts of obtaining controlled substances by misrepresentation, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 35-7-1033(a)(iii) and (b) (LexisNexis 2007).*fn1 The affidavit filed in support of the Information asserted, as to the first count, that in November 2006, Mr. Greene altered his prescription for a narcotic pain reliever from 30 tablets to 80 tablets, and obtained the larger amount from a pharmacy in Green River, Wyoming. As to the second count, the affidavit asserted that in April 2007, he altered and filled another prescription for the same drug, this time from 35 tablets to 85. He was arrested on these charges on December 5, 2007, and released on bond.

[¶4] On April 20, 2008, a second Information was filed, charging Mr. Greene with attempting to obtain property by false pretenses, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 6-3-407(a)(i) and 6-1-301(a)(i) (LexisNexis 2007).*fn2 The supporting affidavit asserted that on March 6, 2008, Mr. Greene attempted to cash two payroll checks he had stolen from a local welding company. He was arrested on this charge on April 27, 2008, and again released on bond.

[¶5] On May 16, 2008, a third Information was filed, charging Mr. Greene with two more felony counts of obtaining controlled substances by misrepresentation, also in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 35-7-1033(a)(iii) and (b) (LexisNexis 2007). The affidavit filed in connection with these charges asserted that, on four occasions ranging from June 11, 2007, to October 29, 2007, Mr. Greene obtained various narcotic pain medications and other controlled substances using forged or altered prescriptions. Mr. Greene was arrested on these charges on June 9, 2008.

[¶6] Mr. Greene initially pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. He later reached a plea agreement with the prosecution involving all three cases listed above. On October 8, 2008, he pleaded guilty to three counts of obtaining controlled substances by misrepresentation, and no contest to the charge of attempting to obtain property by false pretenses. In return, the prosecution dismissed one of the counts of obtaining controlled substances by misrepresentation, dismissed other charges pending in a fourth case, and agreed not to pursue certain other potential charges not specified in the record. On December 3, 2008, the district court sentenced Mr. Greene to terms of three to five years on each of the three counts of obtaining controlled substances by misrepresentation, and a term of four to eight years on the count of attempting to obtain property by false pretenses. All sentences were to be served concurrently. Mr. Greene appealed.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

[¶7] Both of Mr. Greene‟s issues require us to interpret and apply Wyoming statutes. "Statutory interpretation is a question of law, so our review is de novo." Qwest Corp. v. Public Service Comm'n, 2007 WY 97, ¶ 3, 161 P.3d 495, 497 (Wyo. 2007). "We attempt to determine the legislature‟s intent based primarily on the plain and ordinary meaning of the words used in the statute." Krenning v. Heart Mt. Irrigation Dist., 2009 WY 11, ¶ 9, 200 P.3d 774, 778 (Wyo. 2007). "If we determine that a statute is clear and unambiguous, we give effect to the plain language of the statute." RK v. State ex rel. Natrona County Child Support Enforcement Dep't, 2008 WY 1, ¶ 10, 174 P.3d 166, 169 (Wyo. 2008).

DISCUSSION

Issue 1: Felonies or ...


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