This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).







State of Minnesota,





Larry Foster,




Filed August 7, 2001

Foley, Judge


Ramsey County District Court

File No. K700965



Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN  55103; and


Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Mark Nathan Lystig, Assistant County Attorney, 50 West Kellogg Blvd., Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)


Stephen V. Grigsby, 1159 University Avenue West, St. Paul, MN  55104 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Foley, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

FOLEY, Judge

            Appellant Larry Foster challenges the district court’s denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea to a third-degree controlled substance offense in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.023, subd. 2(1) (2000) (possession of over three grams).  Appellant contends that he was unable to enter an intelligent plea because he was impaired and under the influence of an anti-depressant medication.  Because the record does not support his claim, we find no abuse of the district court’s discretion in denying the motion, and we affirm.


            A criminal defendant may withdraw a guilty plea

at any time before sentence if it is fair and just to do so, giving due consideration to the reasons advanced by the defendant in support of the motion and any prejudice the granting of the motion would cause the prosecution by reason of actions taken in reliance upon the defendant’s plea.


Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 2.  The district court has discretion to determine whether a guilty plea should be withdrawn, and this court will not reverse that decision absent an abuse of discretion.  See id.; Shorter v. State, 511 N.W.2d 743, 746 (Minn. 1994) (decision whether to allow withdrawal of guilty plea “generally left to the trial court”).  Courts should be lenient in allowing plea withdrawals before sentencing.  State v. Williams, 373 N.W.2d 851, 853 (Minn. App. 1985).  One who has entered a guilty plea does not have the absolute right to withdraw it, however.  State v. Knight, 292 Minn. 419, 423, 192 N.W.2d 829, 832 (1971).

            In this case, appellant argues that he did not intelligently plead guilty because of his “reduced mental state” due to the effects of an anti-depressant medication he was taking at the time of the plea hearing.  He further claims that the court should not have relied on his own representations regarding his capacity to understand his plea.

            The record does not support these contentions.  To the contrary, the record shows that appellant was fully cognizant of the proceedings and their consequences.  At the plea hearing, appellant stated that his anti-depressant medication did not influence his thoughts, that he was thinking clearly, and that he understood the proceedings.  Appellant claimed to be “foggy” only about application of certain aspects of the sentencing guidelines to his case, and the court allowed him more time to consult with his attorney on this issue.  The court also enumerated the details of the plea agreement before accepting appellant's plea, and appellant did not object to the plea or make any comments to suggest he did not understand the plea.  In denying appellant’s plea withdrawal motion, the district court judge, who also presided over appellant’s plea hearing, stated that he was “not under any belief” that appellant “did not fully and complete[ly] understand what was going on that day.” 

            Under these circumstances, we conclude that appellant has not shown that he was entitled to withdraw his plea. See Kim v. State, 434 N.W.2d 263, 266 (Minn. 1989) (defendant has burden of proof to establish “fair and just” reason exists to withdraw plea); Doughman v. State, 351 N.W.2d 671, 674-75 (Minn. App. 1984) (defendant did not sustain burden to allow withdrawal of guilty plea where record contradicted defendant’s claim that plea not intelligently made), review denied (Minn. Oct. 16, 1984).  The district court, therefore, did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion. 



* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.