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O'Halloran v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

July 30, 2014

RYAN O'HALLORAN, Appellant (Defendant),
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff)

Appeal from the District Court of Big Horn County. The Honorable Steven R. Cranfill, Judge.

Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellant Counsel; and David E. Westling, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel. Argument by Mr. Westling.

Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Jenny L. Craig, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Jennifer Zissou, Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms. Zissou.

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


Page 122

HILL, Justice.

[¶1] Ryan O'Halloran pled guilty to misdemeanor interference with a peace officer. Pursuant to his plea agreement, Mr. O'Halloran agreed to pay restitution in an amount to be determined in future proceedings against his co-defendant. Nearly two years after Mr. O'Halloran's plea and sentencing, the district court issued a ruling requiring Mr. O'Halloran to pay restitution in the amount of $2,600.15. Mr. O'Halloran appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the amount of the restitution order and contending that the delay in entering the restitution order violated his due process rights. We find that the restitution order was not supported by sufficient evidence and reverse.


[¶2] Mr. O'Halloran states the issues on appeal as follows:

I. Did the trial court commit error by awarding restitution for crimes to which Mr. O'Halloran did not plead guilty and for which there was no plea agreement to pay?
II. Did the 717 days between the date Mr. O'Halloran pled guilty and the entry of his judgment and sentence constitute a violation of due process in that Mr. O'Halloran was denied his right to speedy sentencing?


[¶3] On September 5, 2006, Mr. O'Halloran's sister, Megan O'Halloran, applied to the Department of Family Services (DFS) for child care benefits. The child care benefits were benefits intended to provide assistance to Ms. O'Halloran in paying for child care while she participated in an approved activity, such as work or school. As a condition to receiving the child care benefits, Ms.

Page 123

O'Halloran was required to use an authorized daycare provider--that is, a provider approved by DFS. In September 2006, an application was submitted to DFS for Mr. O'Halloran to serve as an authorized daycare provider for Ms. O'Halloran's children. Thereafter, several bills for child care services were submitted to DFS, identifying Ms. O'Halloran as the benefit recipient and Mr. O'Halloran as the provider and bearing the purported signatures of both individuals.

[¶4] Between October 2006 and November 2008, DFS issued eighteen checks payable to Mr. O'Halloran, totaling $5,200.30. Through an investigation, DFS discovered that for some of the periods for which benefits were paid, Ms. O'Halloran was not participating in an approved activity or Mr. O'Halloran was working at other employment rather than providing child care services. The investigation also revealed that Debora McEwan, the mother of Mr. O'Halloran and Ms. O'Halloran, signed seventeen of the eighteen checks.[1] On June 30, 2009, during the course of a law enforcement investigation into these events, Mr. O'Halloran told the officer that the signatures on certain documents were his signatures, knowing that those statements to the officer were untrue.

[¶5] On January 11, 2010, the State filed a felony information charging Mr. O'Halloran with making a false statement to obtain welfare benefits. Ms. O'Halloran was similarly charged, and on September 30, 2010, the district court entered an order joining their cases for trial. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Mr. O'Halloran pled guilty to an amended charge of misdemeanor interference with a peace officer. The prosecutor described the terms of the plea agreement, which included Mr. O'Halloran's continued cooperation in the State's investigation and the following:

That Mr. O'Halloran will be sentenced to the full maximum sentence of that [charge], which we believe it's a high misdemeanor, so it will be one year in the county jail, credit for whatever time he has served. All of that will be suspended, and that he will be placed on unsupervised probation.
* * * *
Mr. O'Halloran will pay restitution for the amount that he has actually received off of this, which we believe was due to his working and baby-sitting at different times, but we don't know exactly how much that would be. We believe it's probably less than $500. But we would ask the Court to allow some time until the rest of this -- and the other codefendants have gone through their pleas or their trials or whatever so we can find out how much he did receive, and that he pay the restitution with regard to that.

[¶6] The district court accepted the plea agreement and in accordance with the agreement, sentenced Mr. O'Halloran to one year in county jail, suspended in favor of one year of unsupervised probation. During that ruling, the following exchange occurred:

THE COURT: * * *
And the Court will accept that agreement, which is a sentence of one year in the county jail, with credit for time served. That is to be suspended, and you are to serve a term of one year of unsupervised probation.
I assume that begins today.
[Defense Counsel]: Yes, sir, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Essentially, it's to violate no state, local or federal law.
The issue of restitution will be reset for a separate hearing as these other cases resolve and we have more information to determine the dollar amount. However, it's the Court's understanding that that would be ...

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