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Derrera v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

June 13, 2014

RAYMOND ANTHONY DERRERA, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff)

Page 108

Appeal from the District Court of Natrona County. The Honorable Catherine E. Wilking, Judge.

Representing Appellant: Raymond A. Derrera, Pro se.

Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Caitlin F. Young, Assistant Attorney General.

Before KITE, C.J., and HILL, BURKE, DAVIS, and FOX, JJ.

OPINION

Page 109

Fox, Justice.

[¶1] Raymond Derrera pled guilty to the charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol (DWUI), his fourth such offense in ten years. Mr. Derrera was convicted of a felony under the law providing that a fourth DWUI offense within ten years is a felony subject to sentence enhancement. He now appeals his felony sentence enhancement, contending that two prior DWUI convictions relied on by the district court were not constitutionally obtained and therefore should not have been relied upon for purposes of enhancing his sentence. We affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] 1. Does Mr. Derrera's 2007 conviction, in which he pled guilty without counsel, constitute a violation of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel?

2. Did the district court subject Mr. Derrera to double jeopardy when it reinstated Mr. Derrera's 2009 DWUI after dismissing the case with prejudice?

FACTS

[¶3] On June 19, 2012, Mr. Derrera drove with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.16%. The State charged him with one count of driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater. This was Mr. Derrera's fourth offense within the previous ten years, making it a felony under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 31-5-233(e) (LexisNexis 2013).[1] Mr. Derrera pled not guilty at his arraignment on August 30, 2012.

[¶4] On January 23, 2013, Mr. Derrera filed a Motion to Strike Two of Four Prior Convictions for Enhancement Purposes Thereby Reducing DWUI Charge From Felony to Misdemeanor. Specifically, his motion challenged his prior DWUI convictions in CR-2006-3226 and CR-2009-2891.

[¶5] In CR-2006-3226, Mr. Derrera was charged with misdemeanor DWUI for events occurring on November 3, 2006. On January 12, 2007, he entered into a plea agreement with the State, acknowledged that he wished to proceed without counsel, and pled guilty pro se . The circuit court set the sentencing hearing for March 7, 2007, and subsequently reset it to March 26, 2007. Mr. Derrera did not appear for the sentencing hearing on March 26, and the court issued a bench warrant for his arrest. Mr. Derrera was arrested on August 21, 2007. He appeared in court the next day, and was sentenced to six months imprisonment. At his sentencing, Mr. Derrera stated that he was represented by counsel. The court responded that there was nothing in the file to indicate this, and proceeded with sentencing.

[¶6] On October 29, 2007, counsel for Mr. Derrera filed a Motion to Vacate Judgment and Sentence, arguing that Mr. Derrera's constitutional right to counsel was denied when he was sentenced without his counsel present. The motion was denied at a December 5, 2007 ...


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