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Wyatt L. Bear Cloud v. the State of Wyoming

February 9, 2012

WYATT L. BEAR CLOUD, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Sheridan County The Honorable John G. Fenn, Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Donnell, District Judge.

Before KITE, GOLDEN, HILL, and BURKE, J.J.; and DONNELL, D.J.

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 typographical or other formal errors so correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.

[¶1] On August 26, 2009, Appellant Wyatt Bear Cloud and two co-defendants were involved in the armed burglary of a residence in Sheridan, Wyoming. During the course of the burglary, one of Bear Cloud's co-defendants shot and killed one of the home's residents. Bear Cloud was charged with, and ultimately pleaded guilty to, Murder in the First Degree (Felony-Murder), in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-101(a) (LexisNexis 2011); Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Burglary, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 6-1-303(a) and 6-3-301(a) and (c)(i) (LexisNexis 2011); and Aggravated Burglary, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-301(a) and (c)(i) (LexisNexis 2011). He was sixteen years of age at the time of these offenses.

[¶2] In addition to his sentences on the burglary and conspiracy charges, Bear Cloud was sentenced to life imprisonment for his conviction for felony-murder. He now appeals his convictions and sentences on numerous grounds. For the reasons set forth herein, we affirm Bear Cloud's convictions and sentences in their entireties.

ISSUES

[¶3] Bear Cloud presents the following issues for review:

1. Was Appellant's trial counsel ineffective, specifically by: (A) inviting intrusion into the attorney-client relationship, (B) waiving his meritorious appellate issues and (C) incorrectly advising him of the consequences of his pleas, thus rendering his pleas involuntary?

2. Is a motion to transfer a case to juvenile court a dispositive motion, so it may be the subject of conditional guilty pleas?

3. Did the trial court abuse its discretion when it refused to transfer Appellant to juvenile court?

4. Does the sentence of life in prison for a juvenile who did not commit or intend to commit a homicide violate the [Eighth] Amendment of the United States Constitution?

5. Does the sentence of life in prison for a juvenile who did not commit or intend to commit a homicide violate Art. 1, § 14 of the Wyoming Constitution?

6. Does the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment provided in the [Eighth] Amendment of the United States Constitution and Art. 1, § 14 of the Wyoming Constitution, prohibit the imposition of mandatory life imprisonment on a juvenile when the sentencing court cannot take into consideration the child's age, culpability or other mitigating factors?

7. Did the trial court abuse its discretion in denying Appellant's motion to withdraw his guilty pleas?

Appellee, the State of Wyoming, generally relies upon the same issues, albeit rephrasing them somewhat.

BACKGROUND FACTS

[¶4] In the early morning hours of August 26, 2009, Bear Cloud, along with co-defendants, Dennis Poitra, Jr. and Dharminder Vir Sen, entered the home of Robert and Linda Ernst in Sheridan, Wyoming, with the intent to steal items from the home. During the commission of this burglary, Sen shot and killed Mr. Ernst. Bear Cloud was sixteen years of age; Sen, fifteen; and Poitra, eighteen, at the time.

[¶5] Previously, sometime between August 19-26, 2009, during meetings at Bear Cloud's residence, these three co-defendants had planned to commit a series of burglaries. They obtained weapons (a knife, a 9mm handgun, and a landscaping timber modified to be used as a bat) and a map, planned the location of the burglaries, obtained dark clothing and masks, and then waited until the early morning hours of August 26, 2009, to carry out their plans. In fact, during this planning phase and a few days prior to the murder, Bear Cloud and Sen broke into a pickup truck and stole the handgun that ultimately was used to kill Mr. Ernst.

[¶6] Early in the morning of August 26, 2009, the three donned black bandanas and dark clothing to hide their identities. After first attempting to burglarize another residence, they entered the Ernst home by having Poitra cut the window screen and enter the house. He then unlocked the door, thus permitting Bear Cloud and Sen to enter. Poitra was in possession of the handgun and the knife; Sen was in possession of the bat.

[¶7] Upon gaining entry to the home, the three proceeded to search the basement for items to steal. En route to the basement, they passed the master bedroom and observed Mr. and Mrs. Ernst asleep in their bed. After a period of time spent "rummaging around" the home, Sen obtained the handgun from Poitra, stating that he wanted to "intimidate" or "interrogate" Mr. Ernst so as to coerce him into opening a safe that the co-defendants located in the basement.

[¶8] All three co-defendants returned upstairs, at which time Poitra and Sen went into the Ernst bedroom with the intent to confront the Ernsts. Bear Cloud apparently was on the same floor but not in the Ernst bedroom at the time. After shining flashlights into the Ernst bedroom to wake Mr. Ernst, Sen yelled something at Mr. Ernst and then shot him three times, killing him. The three then fled the home and returned to Bear Cloud's residence.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[¶9] On August 27, 2009, the State filed an Information, charging Bear Cloud with one count of Murder in the First Degree, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-101(a), and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Burglary, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 6-1-303(a) and 6-3-301(a) and (c)(i). On September 15, 2009, the State amended the Information to add, as an alternative to the first-degree murder charge, one count of Accessory Before the Fact to First-Degree Murder, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 6-2-101(a) and 6-1-201, and to add one count of Aggravated Burglary, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-301(a) and (c)(i).

[¶10] On October 27, 2009, Bear Cloud pleaded "not guilty" to all pending charges: Count I: Murder in the First Degree (Felony Murder), in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-101(a); Count II: Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Burglary, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 6-1-303(a) and 6-3-301(a) and (c)(i); and Count III: Aggravated Burglary, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-3-301(a) and (c)(i).

[¶11] On October 12, 2009, prior to his arraignment in the District Court, Bear Cloud filed a motion to transfer his case to juvenile court. That "transfer motion" was assigned to a different district court judge for consideration and was argued on May 19, 2010. After considering the evidence presented at the transfer hearing, the district court denied Bear Cloud's motion to transfer the case to juvenile court.

[¶12] On July 2, 2010, Bear Cloud filed a motion to suppress any statements he had made to law enforcement officers during two custodial interrogations. He asserted that he had not been adequately advised of his Miranda rights and that his statements were involuntary. Following an August 10, 2010 hearing on the matter, the trial court denied the motion, ruling that Bear Cloud had received proper Miranda advisements and that his statements were voluntary.

[¶13] On September 8, 2010, Bear Cloud filed his notice of intent to enter a conditional guilty plea, seeking to preserve his right to appeal certain issues. However, the State refused to consent to the conditional guilty plea, asserting that the issues Bear Cloud sought to preserve for appeal were not dispositive of the case. See Walters v. State, 2008 WY 159, 197 P.3d 1273 (Wyo. 2008). Because the State would not consent, and because the district court agreed that the stated issues were not dispositive, the court could not accept a conditional guilty plea. Instead, after consulting with counsel, Bear Cloud appeared before the district judge and entered guilty pleas to all three charges. These were "cold pleas," entered without a plea agreement with the State.

[¶14] On September 21, 2010, with the advice of new defense counsel, Bear Cloud filed a motion to withdraw his guilty pleas, claiming that the district court failed to comply with W.R.Cr.P. 11 and that his previous defense counsel had been ineffective in advising him to plead guilty. On November 30, 2010, the district court held a hearing, at which time it denied the motion.

[¶15] On February 9, 2011, the district court sentenced Bear Cloud to: (1) 20-25 years in prison on Count III (Aggravated Burglary); (2) life in prison with the possibility of parole*fn1 on Count I (First-Degree Murder), to be served consecutively to the sentence for aggravated burglary; and (3) 20-25 years in prison on Count II (Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Burglary), to be served concurrently with the first-degree murder sentence but consecutively to the aggravated burglary sentence. This appeal followed.

ANALYSIS

[¶16] In an attempt to best consider the issues raised by Bear Cloud on appeal, and because some of the issues presented are dispositive of others, this Court reorders them and addresses each as follows:

I. Denial of Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea

A. Standard of Review

[¶17] When a motion to withdraw a guilty plea is made before sentencing, W.R.Cr.P. 32(d) requires only "any fair and just reason" to grant the motion. It is the defendant's burden to show "any fair and just reason," and the burden shifts to the State to prove prejudice to its case only if the defendant first so demonstrates. See McCard v. State, 2003 WY 142, ¶ 11, 78 P.3d 1040, 1043 (Wyo. 2003).

[¶18] Our review of the denial of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea, made pursuant to W.R.Cr.P. 32(d), and before sentencing, requires a two-part inquiry: First, this Court inquires as to whether the strictures of W.R.Cr.P. 11 were met and, second, whether the defendant intelligently, knowingly, and voluntarily entered the guilty plea. See Kruger v. State, 2012 WY 2, ¶ 25, ___ P.3d ____ (Wyo. 2012). Overall, a trial court's denial of such a motion is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. See id.; Demeulenaere v. State, 2008 WY 147, 197 P.3d 1238 (Wyo. 2008). To that end, this Court must determine whether the trial court reasonably could conclude as it did and whether any facet of its ruling was arbitrary or capricious. See Kruger, ¶ 26, ___ P.3d at ____; Ingersoll v. State, 2004 WY 102, ¶ 12, 96 P.3d 1046, 1050 (Wyo. 2004). However, the standard for determining the voluntariness of a guilty plea is de novo. See Krueger, ¶ 30, ___ P.3d at ___. Further, the denial of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea is subject to the following considerations when, as here, the request is made prior to sentence being imposed upon a defendant:

A defendant does not enjoy an absolute right to withdraw a plea of guilty prior to the imposition of sentence. Osborn v. State, 672 P.2d 777, 788 (Wyo. 1983), cert. denied, 465 U.S. 1051, 104 S.Ct. 1331, 79 L.Ed.2d 726 (1984); Ecker v. State, 545 P.2d 641, 642 (Wyo. 1976). The trial court is vested with discretion to determine whether to grant a motion to withdraw a plea of guilty made prior to sentencing, and it does not abuse that discretion by denying the withdrawal of the plea so long as the requirements of W.R.Cr.P. 11 were complied with at the time the plea was accepted. Kaldwell v. State, 908 P.2d 987, 990 (Wyo. 1995). Even when the defendant provides a plausible or just and fair reason for withdrawal of the plea of guilty, the denial of the defendant's motion does not amount to an abuse of discretion if the trial court conducted a careful hearing pursuant to W.R.Cr.P. 11 at which the defendant entered a plea or pleas of guilty that was knowing, voluntary, and intelligent. Osborn, 672 P.2d at 778-79.

Stout v. State, 2001 WY 114, ¶ 8, 35 P.3d 1198, ¶ 8 (Wyo. 2001) (quoting Nixon v. State, 4 P.3d 864, 868-69 (Wyo. 2000)); and see Becker v. State, 2002 WY 126, ¶ 11, 53 P.3d 94, ¶ 11 (Wyo. 2002)(for purposes of a review such as this, a plea of nolo contendere is functionally equivalent to a guilty plea).

This standard of review has been further refined as follows:

A motion to withdraw a guilty plea, such as that filed here, is governed by W.R.Cr.P. 32(d) which provides that if a motion for withdrawal of a guilty plea is made before sentence is imposed, the court may permit withdrawal upon a showing by the defendant of any fair and just reason. A defendant has no absolute right to withdraw a plea of guilty before sentence is imposed, and where the strictures of W.R.Cr.P. 11 have been met, and the defendant intelligently, knowingly, and voluntarily entered into his plea of guilty, the district court's decision to deny such a motion is within its sound discretion. Burdine v. State, 974 P.2d 927, 929-30 (Wyo. 1999); 3 Charles Alan Wright, Federal Practice and Procedure: Criminal 2d § 538 (1982 and Supp. 2001). Seven factors have been suggested as pertinent to the exercise of the court's discretion: (1) Whether the defendant has asserted his innocence; (2) whether the government would suffer prejudice; (3) whether the defendant has delayed in filing his motion; (4) whether withdrawal would substantially inconvenience the court; (5) whether close assistance of counsel was present; (6) whether the original plea was knowing and voluntary; and (7) whether the withdrawal would waste judicial resources. 3 Wright, Federal Practice and Procedure: Criminal 2d § 538 (Supp. 2001); United States v. Black, 201 F.3d 1296, 1299-1300 (10th Cir. 2000).

Frame v. State, 2001 WY 72, ¶ 7, 29 P.3d 86, ¶ 7 (Wyo. 2001).

Furthermore, "[t]he findings of fact that led to denial of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea are subject to the clearly erroneous standard of review, while the decision to deny the motion is reversed only if it constituted an abuse of discretion." 3 Charles Alan Wright, Nancy J. King and Susan R. Klein, Federal Practice and Procedure: Criminal 2d § 538 (Supp. 2003).

McCard v. State, 2003 WY 142, ¶¶ 6-8, 78 P.3d 1040, 1042-43 (Wyo. 2003).

Demeulenaere, ¶ 13, 197 P.3d at 1241 (quoting Hirsch v. State, 2006 WY 66, ¶ 14, 135 P.3d 586, 593 (Wyo. 2006)) (emphasis added).

B. Denial of Bear Cloud's Request to Withdraw His Guilty Pleas

[¶19] On September 8, 2010, Bear Cloud pleaded guilty to all three pending felony criminal charges against him. Thirteen days later, and with the assistance of new defense counsel, he filed a motion to withdraw his guilty pleas pursuant to W.R.Cr.P. 32,*fn2 asserting that he was not adequately informed by his defense counsel that "life without parole" was a possible consequence of his guilty pleas. He also faulted the district court for not adequately verifying that he understood the ramifications of his pleas. After considering the evidence at a November 30, 2010 motion hearing, and addressing the seven factors discussed in Frame, supra, the district court denied Bear Cloud's request. Bear Cloud now asks this Court to conclude that the district court abused its discretion in so doing.

[¶20] To reach a conclusion on this claim of error, this Court first must review the proceedings at the Change of Plea hearing conducted by the district court on September 8, 2010, to determine whether the court complied with Rule 11. "Even if a "plausible" or a "just and fair" reason for withdrawal is presented, an abuse of discretion is not demonstrated if the requirements of Rule 11 have been met and the record clearly shows that the defendant intelligently, knowingly, and voluntarily entered the plea." Kruger, ¶ 36, ___ P.3d at ____ (quoting Major v. State, 2004 WY 4, ¶ 24, 83 P.3d 468, 479 (Wyo. 2004)). At the change of plea hearing, Bear Cloud was present with defense counsel. Bear Cloud's father also was present, with a private attorney retained by the family. The court first addressed the non-conditional nature of Bear Cloud's intended change of pleas. Bear Cloud conceded that his potentially-preserved issues regarding the denial of his suppression motion and the exclusion from the public from the transfer hearing were not dispositive and, thus, could not be preserved for appeal by a conditional plea. However, he argued that the denial of his motion to transfer his case to juvenile court was dispositive and should be preserved, to which the State objected. The district court concluded that the denial of the transfer to juvenile court was not a dispositive issue and, as a result, the State had appropriately refused consent to a conditional plea. The court then addressed Bear Cloud and inquired as to his competence to enter his guilty pleas on that date. Additionally, the court specifically engaged in the following colloquy:

THE COURT: . . . You understand that it leaves only the sentencing, which is in the discretion of the Court. You will not be allowed to withdraw your guilty plea if you do not like the sentence that may be imposed. Do you understand that?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: I was advised in Chambers that this change of plea is not pursuant to a plea agreement. Is that correct?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: You have had an arraignment many months ago. The law does not require me to go over the mandatory minimum or maximum sentences a second time, but it is important that you understand what they are. Do you recall those and have you had opportunity to visit with your attorney about them?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Would you like me to go over them a second time with you?

THE DEFENDANT: No, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Do you have any questions of the Court whatsoever before I allow you to change your pleas?

THE DEFENDANT: No, Your Honor.

At this point, the district court permitted Bear Cloud to enter his guilty pleas and verified, once again, that he understood the nature and consequences of those pleas after having had the opportunity to consult with defense counsel. The district court expressly inquired of Bear Cloud whether he was entering into his pleas "freely and voluntarily." To every inquiry, Bear Cloud responded affirmatively.

[¶21] In his motion to withdraw his guilty plea, Bear Cloud asserted, as his chief complaint, that he did not, in fact, understand that he faced a potential sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Yet, at the motion hearing, he expressly testified that, about a month before he actually entered his guilty pleas, it was he, not defense counsel, who first proposed the notion of pleading guilty to the charges. He testified that he was "told that [he] potentially could face life without parole[.]" Bear Cloud also conceded that, about one week prior to the change of plea hearing, he was advised, by defense counsel, that his maximum potential sentence could consist of life imprisonment without parole, plus two consecutive sentences and that he "would never, ever get out again." Despite this accurate information, he asserted at the hearing that he was unclear on the practical consequences of his guilty pleas, believing that he would be released from incarceration at some future date. Bear Cloud further asserted he "mostly" did not understand the questions from and statements made by the district court during the change of plea hearing but proceeded with his guilty pleas because he "wanted to get on with it and get on to sentencing."

[¶22] At the motion hearing, defense counsel also testified as to having discussed the potential sentences that could be imposed on Bear Cloud and denied giving him any "guarantees" regarding the sentence that the court would impose. Counsel expressed a "personal belief" that Bear Cloud would be released from prison some day, recognizing there was no guarantee that event would occur. Counsel even testified as to conversations with Bear Cloud about "what he needed to do while he was in prison that would put him in a good light to get those type of treatments [to assist with commutation of his life sentence by the Governor]."

[¶23] After considering the evidence presented at the hearing on the motion to withdraw Bear Cloud's guilty plea and the seven Frame factors, the district court concluded that "there has been an insufficient showing by the Defendant to establish a fair and just reason for the withdrawal of the plea before sentencing[.]" The district court, in considering the first Frame factor, noted that Bear Cloud had not asserted, and was not asserting, his innocence. Rather, his complaint lay in the "cold" nature of his guilty pleas, absent any sentencing recommendation by the State. Defense counsel went so far as to concede: "If we were in a position where there was a life [sentence with the possibility of parole] and that was the agreement, I wouldn't be standing here[.]"*fn3

Second, while the State undoubtedly would suffer some prejudice, at least in the sense that it might be forced to try the case, the district court did not find that prejudice to be particularly high. Third, Bear Cloud had filed his motion in a timely fashion, only thirteen days after he entered his guilty pleas. Fourth, the district court noted that a jury trial would inconvenience the court but did not weigh that factor heavily given the gravity of the case. Fifth, the court found that Bear Cloud had been afforded "close assistance of counsel," noting that defense counsel historically had been competent and capable in dealings with the court. Sixth, the district court noted its review of the transcript from the change of plea hearing and concluded that Bear Cloud's guilty pleas were knowing and voluntary. The court remarked that defense counsel "clearly" knew the implications of Bear Cloud's guilty pleas and adequately consulted with him about the situation.

Although Bear Cloud, as well as his counsel, personally believed he ultimately would be released from incarceration at some unknown future date, the district court did not find this optimism to equate to the entry of an involuntary or unknowing plea. Finally, the court found that the withdrawal of Bear Cloud's guilty pleas would waste judicial resources but found this factor not to be particularly compelling.

[¶24] This Court is charged with determining whether the district court abused its discretion in denying Bear Cloud's motion to withdraw his guilty plea. While recognizing that the standard for permitting a pre-sentence withdrawal of a guilty plea requires only a "fair and just reason," see W.R.Cr.P. 32(d), this Court also notes that a defendant does not enjoy an absolute right to withdraw his plea. See Osborn v. State, 672 P.2d 777, 788 (Wyo. 1983), cert. denied, 465 U.S. 1051, 104 S.Ct. 1331, 79 L.Ed.2d 726 (1984); Ecker v. State, 545 P.2d 641, 642 (Wyo. 1976). Here, during the change of plea hearing, the district court complied with W.R.Cr.P. 11*fn4 in every respect and, therefore, cannot be found to have abused its discretion in denying Mr. Bear Cloud's request to withdraw that plea. See Kaldwell v. State, 908 P.2d 987, 990 (Wyo. 1995) (discussing the court's discretion in motions to withdraw guilty pleas).

[¶25] Although the district court complied with Rule 11's requirements, this Court still considers, de novo, the totality of the circumstances to determine the voluntariness of the guilty plea. See Kruger, ¶ 30, ___ P.3d at ____. Here, the district court affirmatively inquired of Bear Cloud whether his guilty pleas were knowing, voluntary, and intelligent. That Bear Cloud later contended that he did not truly understand the potential sentencing outcomes or that he just wanted to "get on with it" does not negate the district court's attempts to ensure the constitutionality of the pleas or Bear Cloud's testimony that he was accurately advised of the extent of possible consequences of a guilty plea. To allow a defendant to later assert that his pleas were unknowing or involuntary, despite his earlier assurances to the court to the contrary, would negate the Rule 11 process entirely and support the perpetration of fraud on the court.

[¶26] Even given the testimony and evidence at the hearing on the motion to withdraw Bear Cloud's guilty plea, the district court was justified in concluding that he intelligently, knowingly, and voluntarily entered his pleas of guilty. The district court appropriately weighed the seven Frame factors, placing particular emphasis on the voluntary and knowing nature of Bear Cloud's pleas. Although Bear Cloud later contended that he did not truly understand the ramifications of his plea, his own testimony at the hearing on the motion to withdraw the guilty plea belies that argument in that he conceded his knowledge of a potential sentence of life without possibility of parole. Where a plea of guilty is entered by "one fully aware of the direct consequences, including the actual value of any commitments made to him by the court, prosecutor, or his own counsel," it is considered knowing and voluntary and "must stand unless induced by threats (or promises to discontinue improper harassment), misrepresentation (including unfulfilled or unfulfillable promises), or perhaps by promises that are by their nature improper as having no proper relationship to the prosecutor's business (e.g. bribes)." Major, ¶ 11, 83 P.3d 468 at 472. There simply is no credible evidence that Bear Cloud was induced by threats, misrepresentation, or improper promises made by the court, the prosecutor, or his own counsel, to plead guilty. Bear Cloud's plea, under the totality of the circumstances, was knowing and voluntary. Recognizing that findings of fact that lead to the denial of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea are subject to the "clearly erroneous" standard, this Court concludes that the district court could have rationally concluded as it did-that Bear Cloud did not present any "fair and just reason" to withdraw his guilty plea. The district court did not err in finding that Bear Cloud's guilty pleas were knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made nor did it abuse its sound discretion in refusing to allow the withdrawal of his guilty plea.

II. Denial of Motion to Transfer to Juvenile Court

[¶27] Bear Cloud next seeks a reversal of the district court's denial of his motion to transfer his case to juvenile court. Having concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying his motion to withdraw his guilty pleas, Bear Cloud is permitted to appeal only jurisdictional issues. Accordingly, before reaching the substantive merits of the issue, this Court must determine whether the district court's denial of the request to transfer the case to juvenile court is, in fact, a jurisdictional issue.

A. Jurisdictional Nature of a Motion to Transfer to Juvenile Court

[¶28] "By entering an unconditional guilty plea, [Bear Cloud] admitted all of the essential elements of the crime and waived appellate review of all non-jurisdictional defenses to his conviction." Jones v. State, 2011 WY 115, ¶ 6, 256 P.3d 536, 539 (Wyo. 2011) (citation omitted). The only claims that remain are those that go to the jurisdiction of the court or the voluntariness of the plea. Id. (citing Wilson v. United States, 962 F.2d 996, 997 (11th Cir. 1992)).

Examples of jurisdictional defects are unconstitutionality of the statute defining the crime, failure of the indictment or information to state an offense, and double jeopardy. Non-jurisdictional defects include the use of inadmissible evidence, the use of unlawfully obtained statements, a claim that a grand jury was improperly convened and conducted, and a claim of violation of the right to speedy trial.

Taylor v. State, 2003 WY 97, ¶ 11 74 P.3d 1236, 1239 (Wyo. 2003) (quoting Kitzke v. State, 2002 WY 147, ¶ 9, 55 P.3d 696, 699 (Wyo. 2002)).

[ΒΆ29] The State argues that the potential transfer of Bear Cloud's case to juvenile court is not a jurisdictional matter in that it results only in a change of forum. Essentially, the case against Bear Cloud would have resumed, but in the juvenile court. In contrast, Bear Cloud relies on the premise that "[p]roceedings in juvenile court are equitable as ...


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