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Goetzel v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

March 6, 2019

DARREL DAVID GOETZEL, Appellant (Defendant),
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).

          Appeal from the District Court of Goshen County The Honorable F. Scott Peasley, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Pro se

          Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; Christyne M. Martens, Deputy Attorney General; Caitlin F. Harper, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Katherine A. Adams, Senior Assistant Attorney General

          Before DAVIS, C.J., and FOX, BOOMGAARDEN, and GRAY, JJ., and KRICKEN, D.J.


         [¶1] Appellant, Darrel Goetzel, challenges the district court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. This Court concludes that res judicata bars his claims and affirms on those grounds.


         [¶2] In his appeal, Goetzel states the issue(s) as follows:

The Defendant's motion was barred by res judicata by the District Court. Further the Wyoming Supreme Court barred the Defendant[']s claim in a prior case with similar issues [sic] this is due to ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. More specifically appellate counsel never submitted critical information provided by the defendant, one of the issues relating to the subject of res judicata, as well as ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. However the defendant believes res judicata should not apply in this case because the defendant is filing this appeal under the new Wyoming Statute § 7-12-401 through 407, 7-6-107, 7-14-103, and 7-14-105 "factual innocence actual innocence." The actual issue the Defendant would like to bring to this court[']s attention is the defendant was convicted of a two count violation of Wyoming Criminal Statutes § 6-5-204 Interference with a peace officer and § 6-5-207 Escape by violence or assault. The issue before the Court is whether the charging, conviction, or consecutive sentencing of the defendant pursuant to two general statutes for the same conduct subjected him to Double Jeopardy in violation of the Constitutional guarantees of either the Wyoming or United States Constitutions?

         The State of Wyoming generally rephrases the issue as:

Res judicata bars the relitigation of claims raised and decided in previous criminal proceedings. It also bars litigation of issues that could have been determined in a prior proceeding. The district court determined that res judicata barred Goetzel's petition for post-conviction relief because he could have raised his underlying claims earlier. Did the district court err?


         [¶3] This Court previously summarized the relevant background facts as follows:

While being booked on various charges at the Goshen County Detention Center, Appellant hit the officer in charge, who fell to the floor. Appellant then kicked him in the head, causing severe injuries to the officer. Appellant used the officer's radio to ask for the door to be unlocked. The door was opened, and he fled from the facility, taking the radio with him. He was apprehended six days later in Nebraska. Following his arrest, Appellant was charged with felony interference with a peace officer, felony escape, and felony larceny. About six weeks later, in a separate docket, Appellant was charged with the additional crimes for which he had originally been arrested. Those crimes included possession of a controlled substance, felony larceny, two counts of burglary, and four counts of forgery. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the State dismissed several of the charges and Appellant pled guilty to burglary, forgery, felony larceny, felony escape, and felony interference with a peace officer.

Goetzel v. State, 2017 WY 141, ¶ 3, 406 P.3d 310, 311 (Wyo. 2017) (Goetzel I). The district court sentenced Goetzel to concurrent sentences of four-to-seven years of incarceration for burglary and forgery. It also sentenced him to five-to-eight years of incarceration for larceny and nine-to-ten years for escape, to be served concurrently with each other but consecutively to the sentences for burglary and forgery. Finally, the court sentenced Goetzel to nine-to-ten years of incarceration for interference with a peace officer, to be served consecutively to his sentences for larceny and escape. Goetzel did not appeal his judgment and sentence. Id.

         [¶4] In July 2012, Goetzel filed a Motion For Sentence Reduction, which was denied on its merits. In August 2015, Goetzel filed a pro se Motion For Sentance [sic] Modification, in which he sought to serve his sentences for interference with a peace officer and escape concurrently. This motion also was denied on the grounds that it was not timely filed. Goetzel did not present a double jeopardy claim in any of these motions, nor did he appeal any of these district court orders denying the motions.

         [¶5] In May 2016, Goetzel filed his Motion To Correct An Illegal Sentence, challenging his sentences for interference with a peace officer and escape on double jeopardy grounds. He argued that his sentences constituted multiple punishments for the same offense, namely conduct that he characterizes as "one violent escape from county jail." The district court denied Goetzel's 2016 motion to correct an illegal sentence on its merits, concluding that Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-5-204(b) (interference with a peace officer) and Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-5-207 (escape) each contain an element that the other does not. Thus, under the Blockburger ("same elements") test, Goetzel's convictions and sentences did not violate the protection against double jeopardy. See Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299, 52 S.Ct. 180, 76 L.Ed. 306 (1932); Sweets v. State, 2013 WY 98, 307 P.3d 860 (Wyo. 2013). Goetzel appealed.

         [¶6] In Goetzel I, this Court determined that the doctrine of res judicata barred Goetzel's double jeopardy claim, opining:

Our precedent is clear that the principle of res judicata may be applied to claims brought pursuant to W.R.Cr.P. 35(a). See, e.g., Hamill v. State, 948 P.2d 1356, 1358-59 (Wyo. 1997). In Hamill, we rejected the appellant's argument that, because Rule 35 states that a motion to correct an illegal sentence may be brought at any time, it is not subject to bar under the doctrine of res judicata. Id.
Gould v. State, 2006 WY 157, ¶ 14, 151 P.3d 261, 266 (Wyo. 2006). Res judicata bars issues that were previously raised and considered, and also issues that "could have been raised in an earlier proceeding" but were not. Id., ΒΆ ...

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