Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Mendoza v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

March 9, 2016

SANTANA MENDOZA, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff)

Page 887

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 888

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 889

          Appeal from the District Court of Fremont County. The Honorable Norman E. Young, Judge.

         For Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel; Eric M. Alden, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel.

         For Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Christyne M. Martens, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Darrell D. Jackson, Faculty Director, Bradford H. Coates, Student Director, and Brian Conklin, Student Intern, of the Prosecution Assistance Program.

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

          OPINION

Page 890

          FOX, Justice.

          [¶1] Santana Mendoza pled guilty to manslaughter and aggravated battery and was sentenced to twelve to eighteen years for manslaughter and eight to ten years for aggravated battery, to run concurrently, with a recommendation for boot camp. Mr. Mendoza successfully completed boot camp and moved for a sentence reduction to probation. The district court denied that motion, but reduced his sentence by two years. Mr. Mendoza appeals, claiming that the district court applied the wrong standard, considered improper evidence, and that the prosecutor breached the plea agreement and engaged in misconduct during the hearing on his motion. We affirm.

         ISSUES

          [¶2] 1. What is the proper standard for a motion for sentence reduction following the successful completion of the Youthful Offender Program (boot camp)?

         2. Is the nature of the underlying crime a factor that may be addressed by the parties and considered by the district court in a motion for sentence reduction?

         3. Did the prosecutor violate the terms of the plea agreement when he argued against a sentence reduction?

         FACTS

          [¶3] Mr. Mendoza and another juvenile assaulted two people along a path outside of Riverton. One of the victims was killed and the other sustained serious injuries. Mr. Mendoza was sixteen at the time.

          [¶4] Pursuant to a plea agreement, Mr. Mendoza pled guilty to charges of manslaughter, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-105(a)(i) (LexisNexis 2015), and aggravated battery, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-502(a)(i) (LexisNexis 2015). The plea agreement provided that " [t]he State shall take no position on boot camp."

          [¶5] At the sentencing hearing, Mr. Mendoza's counsel recommended he participate in the Youthful Offender Program (boot camp) and that his sentences run concurrently. The prosecutor made no mention of boot camp. The district court imposed a sentence of twelve to eighteen years for manslaughter and eight to ten years for aggravated battery, to run concurrently. In the Judgment and Sentence, the court recommended that Mr. Mendoza " serve his sentence at" boot camp, if deemed appropriate by the Wyoming Department of Corrections.

          [¶6] In March of 2015, anticipating his completion of boot camp, Mr. Mendoza filed a Motion for Sentence Reduction, in which he requested that his sentence be reduced to probation. After a hearing, the district court reduced Mr. Mendoza's manslaughter sentence to ten to eighteen years, but denied his request for probation. This appeal followed.

         DISCUSSION

         I. What is the proper standard for a motion for sentence reduction following the successful completion of the Youthful Offender Program (boot camp)?

          [¶7] In determining whether to grant Mr. Mendoza's request for the suspension of his sentence and to be placed on probation, the district court conducted a review identical to that which would be applied under a motion for sentence reduction filed pursuant to W.R.Cr.P 35(b).[1] In so doing, the district court reviewed the evidence and testimony

Page 891

submitted at the hearing, including evidence of the nature of the underlying crimes, the arguments of counsel, and the entire file. The district court denied Mr. Mendoza's request for probation, but did reduce his sentence by two years.

          [¶8] Mr. Mendoza argues that because the denial of a motion for reduction under the Youthful Offender Program statute, Wyo. Stat. Ann. § § 7-13-1001 to 17-13-1003 (LexisNexis 2015), defeats the rehabilitative purpose of boot camp, it mandates a different review than review under W.R.Cr.P. 35(b). Under W.R.Cr.P. 35(b), the trial court is afforded considerable deference in deciding whether to grant or deny a motion for sentence reduction. " The purpose of Rule 35(b) is to give a convicted defendant a second opportunity to reduce his sentence by presenting additional information and argument to the sentencing judge." Chapman v. State, 2015 WY 15, ¶ 11, 342 P.3d 388, 392 (Wyo. 2015). In considering a Rule 35(b) motion, the sentencing court is " free to accept or reject such information at its discretion." Id. (citation omitted). Mr. Mendoza urges us to adopt a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.