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Legarda-Cornelio v. State

November 6, 2009

ESTEBAN LEGARDA-CORNELIO AKA OTHONIEL LEGARDA CORNELIO, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Natrona County The Honorable David B. Park, Judge.

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

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

[¶1] Esteban Legarda-Cornelio (the appellant) was convicted and sentenced in state court and then in federal court for unrelated offenses. He subsequently filed a W.R.Cr.P. 35(b) motion with the state district court asking it to order that his state sentences run concurrently with his federal sentences, which motion the district court denied. The appellant appeals that denial.

ISSUE

[¶2] Did the district court abuse its discretion in denying the appellant‟s W.R.Cr.P. 35(b) motion?

FACTS

[¶3]On December 7, 2007, the appellant entered into a plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to escape and joyriding. The plea agreement set forth sentences of not less than two nor more than three years for escape and a one-year sentence for joyriding. These sentences were to run concurrently with one another. On February 13, 2008, at the appellant‟s sentencing hearing, although not part of the formal plea agreement, the appellant requested that the district court order that his state sentences run concurrently with impending federal sentences that he believed he was likely to receive. The district court accepted the plea agreement and in response to appellant‟s separate request for concurrent sentences, the district court noted that it had "no objection with them being concurrent with any federal sentence imposed."

[¶4] On November 26, 2008, the appellant was sentenced in federal court for numerous offenses. The federal court ordered the federal sentences to run concurrently with one another as well as concurrently with a federal life sentence it also imposed on the appellant. The federal court made no mention of the appellant‟s previous state sentences; however, federal officials are now treating the federal and state sentences as running consecutive to one another.*fn1

[¶5] Following his federal sentencing, the appellant filed a W.R.Cr.P. 35(b) motion in state district court.*fn2 In the W.R.Cr.P. 35(b) motion, the appellant requested that his state sentences be ordered to run concurrently with his federal sentences as previously requested at his sentencing hearing. The appellant also included certificates of completion for various programs, demonstrating his good behavior and personal development while incarcerated. The district court denied the appellant‟s motion, without a hearing, noting that nothing in the record or the appellant‟s history justified a sentence modification. This appeal followed.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

[¶6] We have stated that the language of W.R.Cr.P. 35(b) is discretionary. Hodgins v. State, 1 P.3d 1259, 1261 (Wyo. 2000). "The district court has broad discretion in determining whether to reduce a defendant‟s sentence, and we will not disturb its determination absent an abuse of discretion." McFarlane v. State, 781 P.2d 931, 932 (Wyo. 1989) (citing Mower v. State, 750 P.2d 679, 680 (Wyo. 1988)). ""Judicial discretion is a composite of many things, among which are conclusions drawn from objective criteria; it means a sound judgment exercised with regard to what is right under the circumstances and without doing so arbitrarily or capriciously.‟" Hodgins, 1 P.3d at 1261 (quoting Vaughn v. State, 962 P.2d 149, 151 (Wyo. 1998)).

DISCUSSION

[¶7] The appellant makes two arguments to support his claim that the district court improperly denied his W.R.Cr.P. 35(b) motion. First, he argues that the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion because at his sentencing hearing the district court stated that it did not have a problem with his state sentences running concurrently with his impending federal sentences. Second, the appellant argues that the district court abused its discretion in denying his W.R.Cr.P. 35(b) motion because the good behavior he exhibited while he had been incarcerated justified a sentence reduction.

[¶8] Although it appears that the district court was amenable to the appellant‟s request that his state sentences run concurrently with his impending federal sentences, the district court never ...


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