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Hackett v. State

June 29, 2010

MICHAEL LEROY HACKETT A.K.A MICHAEL LEROY HACKETT, JR., 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 VOIGT, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, KITE, and BURKE, JJ.

[¶1] After a jury trial, Michael Leroy Hackett was convicted of one count of first degree sexual assault. On appeal, he claims the presentence investigation report was unfairly biased against him. We affirm.

ISSUE

[¶2] Hackett presents one issue for our review:

The presentence investigation report considered and endorsed by the trial court constituted circumstances which manifest inherent unfairness and injustice, or conduct which offends the public sense of fair play.

FACTS

[¶3] In March of 2008, Michael Leroy Hackett's stepsister reported that Hackett had raped her. After an investigation, Hackett was charged with first degree sexual assault, and a jury convicted him of that single charge.

[¶4] Before sentencing, a presentence investigation report (PSI) was ordered. The court sentenced Hackett on July 21, 2009, but prior to sentencing, Hackett filed his objection to the PSI. Specifying eleven objections, Hackett took issue with the following: (1) sought to correct a discrepancy with his social security number; (2) denied ever advising the probation and parole officer that he understood the State would "maybe" recommend a sentence of ten to twelve years imprisonment; (3) sought to clarify the statement made in the "Defendant's Version" portion of the PSI; (4) objected to the "graphic statement" regarding Hackett's prior offense, on the grounds that, being derived from an affidavit of probable cause, it was more than a "brief statement of the offense," and that he had not admitted or pled guilty to all of the statements of offenses set forth in that document; (5) and (6) sought to correct statements regarding Hackett's family relationships; (7) denied that in 2002, he had pornography of underage females on his computer; (8) sought to expand upon the effects on his health resulting from an auto accident in 2001; (9) sought to add that Hackett's bankruptcy proceeding had been dismissed, leaving him further in debt; (10) argued that the drafter's "conclusion and evaluation are very biased," and that his continued claim of innocence should not be taken as an effort to minimize the offense for which he was convicted or to show a lack of compassion; and (11) asserted that Hackett had contributed "many worthwhile things to society."

[¶5] After taking note of Hackett's objections, the court ruled and imposed a sentence of 15-40 years in prison. This appeal followed.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

[¶6]We review a district court's sentencing decisions for abuse of discretion. Roeschlein v. State, 2007 WY 156, ¶ 17, 168 P.3d 468, 473 (Wyo. 2007). A sentence will not be disturbed because of sentencing procedures unless the defendant can show an abuse of discretion, procedural conduct prejudicial to him, circumstances which manifest inherent unfairness and injustice, or conduct which offends the public sense of fair play. An error warrants reversal only when it is prejudicial and it affects an appellant's substantial rights. The party who is appealing bears the burden to establish that an error was prejudicial. Id. This Court has declined to reverse a sentence where the party objecting to particular portions of a PSI failed to demonstrate that the district court based its decision upon those parts of the report and the challenged comments "merely summarized what was apparent elsewhere in the report and provided the rationale for the agent's sentencing recommendation." Doherty v. State, 2006 WY 39, ¶ 34, 131 P.3d 963, 974 (Wyo. 2006) (quoting Janssen v. State, 2005 WY 123, ¶ 18, 120 P.3d 1006, 1011 (Wyo. 2006)).

DISCUSSION

[ΒΆ7] Hackett's argument focuses on two objections to his PSI that he made prior to sentencing: Objection no. 4 complained that the PSI "substitutes a graphic statement of probable cause of the prior offense in ...


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