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Chad Faron Mebane v. the State of Wyoming

March 21, 2012

CHAD FARON MEBANE, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Sweetwater County The Honorable Jere A. Ryckman, Judge

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

Before KITE, C.J., GOLDEN, HILL, and BURKE, JJ., and SANDERSON, 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 any typographical or other formal errors so that correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.

[¶1] The Appellant, Chad Faron Mebane, appeals from his convictions of possession of methamphetamine, a misdemeanor, and two counts of delivery of methamphetamine. Mebane asserts that the trial court erred by failing to advise him before he testified that he had a right not to testify and, as a result, his choice to testify was not made intelligently. We find that Mebane was adequately advised by the trial court at arraignment of his right to remain silent and hold that he voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently waived his right to remain silent. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment.

ISSUES

[¶2] Mebane raises the following issue on appeal:

Did the trial court's failure to inform Mr. Mebane of his constitutional right to remain silent and not testify result in an uninformed waiver of that right and result in Mr. Mebane incriminating himself at trial?

The State rephrases the issue as:

Did the district court commit plain error by failing to advise Mebane of his right to remain silent immediately before he testified on his own behalf at trial?

FACTS

[¶3] Mebane's convictions stem from two controlled buys made by a confidential informant under the supervision of the Division of Criminal Investigation on June 8, 2010, and again on July 13, 2010. After the second buy, a DCI agent obtained a search warrant to search Mebane's home and methamphetamine was found and seized. These events resulted in Mebane being tried on two separate charges of delivery of methamphetamine in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 35-7-1031(a)(i) (LexisNexis 2011) and one charge of possession of methamphetamine in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 35-7-1031(c)(i)(C) (LexisNexis 2011).

[¶4] At the arraignment, Mebane was advised by the trial court of his right to remain silent. He responded that he understood that right. He plead not guilty to the charges, and the case went to trial. Throughout the entire process Mebane was represented by an attorney.

[¶5] At trial, after the State had rested its case, the trial court did not readvise Mebane of either his right not to testify or his right to testify. Neither Mebane nor his attorney nor the prosecuting attorney objected or otherwise brought to the trial court's attention that this customary advisement had not been given. The record does show that during the recess after the close of the State's case Mebane's attorney requested time to discuss with him whether or not he wanted to testify. Mebane does not contend that he was unaware of his right to not testify or that he was compelled to testify.

[ΒΆ6] Mebane apparently chose to testify. In his testimony he denied delivering the methamphetamine on the two occasions alleged in the Information. On cross-examination he admitted to having been previously convicted of felonies which included a conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine. Mebane ...


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