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McNaughton v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

November 29, 2016

JOSEPH SCOTT MCNAUGHTON, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).

         Appeal from the District Court of Natrona County The Honorable Daniel L. Forgey, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel; Kirk A. Morgan, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel. Argument by Mr. Morgan.

          Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Christyne M. Martens, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Emily Elliott, Student Intern. Argument by Ms. Elliott.

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

          BURKE, Chief Justice.

         [¶1] Appellant, Joseph Scott McNaughton, challenges his conviction of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance, methamphetamine, in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 35-7-1031(a)(i) and 35-7-1042 (LexisNexis 2013). He contends he received ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm.

         ISSUE

         [¶2] Mr. McNaughton presents a single issue:

Was Mr. McNaughton provided effective assistance of counsel?

         FACTS

         [¶3] Mr. McNaughton's participation in a conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine was discovered during an investigation of Preston and Ernesto Montoya by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. The investigating agents used, among other tools, a court-authorized wiretap to record phone calls and text messages from cell phones. During the course of the investigation, the agents intercepted communications between Mr. McNaughton and Preston Montoya regarding methamphetamine. Based on the intercepted communications and surveillance of Mr. McNaughton and his girlfriend, Teresa Porter, DCI obtained a warrant to search Ms. Porter's residence. Upon execution of the warrant, DCI arrested Mr. McNaughton and Ms. Porter and seized Ms. Porter's cell phone. Ms. Porter's phone contained incriminating text messages between her and Mr. McNaughton regarding the sale of methamphetamine.

         [¶4] Mr. McNaughton was charged with one count of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 35-7-1031(a)(i) and 35-7-1042. The court appointed a public defender to represent him. After charging Mr. McNaughton, the State sent defense counsel a letter notifying counsel of the procedure for obtaining the evidence against Mr. McNaughton. The letter informed counsel that he could provide the State a "hard drive with at least 200 GB of storage" or, in the alternative, he could arrange to view the discovery in person at the United States Attorney's Office in Casper. Defense counsel did not provide any type of storage medium to acquire the discovery, nor did he contact anyone to arrange access to view the discovery at the U.S. Attorney's Office.

         [¶5] The State subsequently sent a formal plea offer to defense counsel. The State proposed that, in return for Mr. McNaughton's guilty plea to the felony conspiracy charge, the State would agree to recommend a sentence of five to eight years in prison. Mr. McNaughton rejected the plea offer, and the State did not present any subsequent offers.

         [¶6] Following Mr. McNaughton's rejection, defense counsel filed a motion for a bill of particulars. In response, the State asserted that the motion was untimely and that the information and accompanying affidavit adequately apprised Mr. McNaughton of the allegations against him. The State also noted that its evidence against Mr. ...


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