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Steven D. Bonney v. the State of Wyoming

March 22, 2011


Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County The Honorable Michael K. Davis, Judge

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

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

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 Steven D. Bonney appeals from the order of the district court denying his motion for a sentence reduction. We will affirm.


[¶2] The issue for this Court's determination is whether the district court abused its discretion when it denied Bonney's motion for a sentence reduction.


[¶3] In March 2008, the State charged Bonney with four counts of second degree sexual assault (sexual intrusion) under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-303(a)(v) (LexisNexis 2005) and one count of third degree sexual assault (sexual contact) under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-304(a)(ii) (LexisNexis 2005)*fn1 for crimes alleged to have occurred in 2000 and 2001. Two of the second degree sexual assault counts involved victim TN and the other three counts involved victim VB. The victims were both around eight years old at the time the offenses were committed, and Bonney was sixteen or seventeen years of age.

[¶4] Eventually, Bonney entered into a stipulated plea agreement wherein he agreed to plead guilty to two counts of second degree sexual assault in exchange for dismissal of the other counts. As part of that agreement, the State agreed to forego filing similar charges involving another minor victim, PM, and to recommend that Colorado authorities not pursue charges related to allegations that Bonney committed similar crimes with another minor victim in that state. The plea agreement also provided for Bonney to receive consecutive prison sentences of fifteen to twenty years,*fn2 with the second sentence to be suspended in favor of probation.*fn3

[¶5] Pursuant to that agreement, Bonney entered his guilty pleas on November 13, 2008. The State provided the factual basis for the pleas, which Bonney did not contest. That factual basis established that Bonney had committed acts of vaginal and anal intercourse with TN and acts of anal intercourse with VB. On February 26, 2009, the district court sentenced Bonney in accordance with the plea agreement to consecutive sentences of fifteen to twenty years, and suspended the second sentence in favor of fifteen years of supervised probation. Bonney did not appeal his convictions or the sentences imposed.

[¶6] Thereafter, on June 15, 2009, Bonney, through new counsel, petitioned the district court for post-conviction relief, alleging multiple instances of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Following an evidentiary hearing, and after careful consideration of Bonney's claims and the evidence presented in support of those claims, the district court denied relief. Bonney did not timely seek review of that denial.

[¶7] Bonney subsequently moved the district court, pursuant to W.R.Cr.P. 35(b), for a reduction of his sentence. That motion, and the supporting memorandum filed therewith, relied extensively on the allegations and evidence underlying the post-conviction action and focused primarily on attacking his convictions, the victims, and trial counsel's representation. Bonney also supported his motion with letters of support from friends and relatives, letters from two former supervisors who indicated they would rehire him, and a progress report from the state penitentiary indicating he was a good worker and did not have any disciplinary infractions since arriving at the penitentiary. After a hearing, the district court took the matter under advisement. In an order entered on April 27, 2010, the district court denied the motion, finding in pertinent part:

3) . . . Defendant previously filed a petition for post-conviction relief which the Court denied after an evidentiary hearing. The Court is therefore familiar with many of the factual allegations contained in Defendant's MOTION FOR REDUCTION OF SENTENCE. The Court incorporates its decisions in the post-conviction relief petition in this matter.

4) This Court has broad discretion in deciding whether to reduce a sentence or not. McFarlane v. State, 781 P.2d 931, 932 (Wyo. 1989), relying on Mower ...

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