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Willis A. Center, Sr v. the State of Wyoming

April 27, 2010

WILLIS A. CENTER, SR., APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County The Honorable John R. Perry, Judge

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

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

HILL, J., delivers the opinion of the Court; VOIGT, J., files a dissent, with whom BURKE, J., joins.

NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in Pacific Reporter Third. Readers are requested to notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002, of any typographical or other formal errors so that correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.

[¶1] Appellant, Willis A. Center, Sr. (Center), appeals from an order of the district court denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence. His initial brief was filed pro se. However, a brief in reply to the brief filed by the State was filed on his behalf by the University of Wyoming, College of Law, Defender Aid Program. He contends that the district court sent him from an alcohol treatment center (WYSTAR), to the state penitentiary, in a manner that violated his constitutional rights (due process of law). In a closely related argument, Center contends that the district court imposed a sentence that permitted non-judicial personnel to revoke his placement at WYSTAR in a manner that violated his rights to due process of law. We will remand this matter to the district court with directions that the district court credit Center for all time served in connection with his detention at WYSTAR. The district court's sentence is otherwise affirmed.

ISSUES

[¶2] Center raises these issues:

1. The district court was in error by sending [Center] directly to prison, without holding either a preliminary or final probation revocation hearing, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause and Wyo. Const. art. 1, § 6.

2. The district court improperly imposed a sentence providing for a later revocation by non-judicial personnel, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause and Wyo. Const. art. 1, § 6.

The State reformulates those issues in this phrase:

Is [Center's] sentence illegal merely because the district court stayed its issuance of the mittimus, in order to conditionally release [Center] for alcohol abuse treatment, and later issued the mittimus without a further hearing?

Center's Reply Brief asserts that the State's brief suggests these additional issues:

1. [The State] argues that Center's claim of illegal sentencing is barred by res judicata because it could have been raised on direct appeal, in Center's motion for sentence reduction, or in Center's petition for post-conviction relief.

2. [The State] maintains that Center's claims are untimely because they should have been raised either on direct appeal from the judgment and sentence or on appeal from the order that led to his incarceration following his termination at WYSTAR.

3. [The State] argues that if this Court reviews Center's claims, it should do so under the "plain error" standard rather than the "abuse of discretion" standard.

4. [The State] argues that to the extent Center's sentence permitted his treatment at WYSTAR, it was unambiguously designated a ...


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