This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






In the Matter of the Welfare of: M.R.B.


Filed April 16, 2002


Poritsky, Judge*


Olmsted County District Court

File No. J80150505


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Leslie J. Rosenberg, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)


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

Raymond F. Schmitz, Olmsted County Attorney, Kathy M. Wallace, Assistant County Attorney, Government Center, 151 Fourth Street Southeast, Rochester, MN 55904 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Hanson, Judge, and Poritsky, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N


            This appeal arises from a conviction in an extended juvenile jurisdiction prosecution for false imprisonment and illegal weapons possession.  Appellant argues that the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea, which, he alleges, he entered solely to be released from custody.  We affirm.


            About a month before his eighteenth birthday, appellant M.R.B., accompanied by his father, entered the victim’s home without her consent, where they removed some of her property without permission.  M.R.B. knew that the woman was home with her two children at the time; she asked to use the phone but was restrained from doing so and was told that the matter would be taken care of without police involvement.  Police arrested M.R.B. later that day and found him in possession a nine-millimeter multi-caliber Derringer and a .380-caliber Bersa. 

            The prosecution moved to certify M.R.B. to stand trial as an adult.  Before the certification hearing was completed, M.R.B. agreed to proceed as an extended jurisdictional juvenile (EJJ) and to plead guilty to three counts of false imprisonment under Minn. Stat. § 609.255, subd. 2 and § 609.05 (2000), as well as two counts of possessing a firearm under Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subds. 1(a) and 2 (2000).  The prosecution dismissed the remaining charges of burglary, robbery, and felony theft. 

            At the plea hearing, M.R.B. admitted under oath the elements of the five offenses with which he was charged.  The court recessed for about 25 minutes for him to discuss the plea with his attorney.  He also had the opportunity to consult with his father.  He then testified that he had had sufficient time to discuss the plea with his attorney.  When questioned by the court as to whether he was pleading guilty just to get out of detention or because he was actually guilty, M.R.B. stated, “[b]ecause I am guilty.”    

            Within 24 hours of the hearing, M.R.B. called his attorney and stated that he had made a mistake and wanted to withdraw his plea, but no motion to withdraw was brought until about six weeks later, when his attorney moved to withdraw the guilty plea.  At a dispositional hearing, the district court ruled that M.R.B.’s guilty plea was voluntary, accurate, and intelligently made, and had an adequate factual basis.  The court therefore refused to allow him to withdraw his plea. 

            The court gave M.R.B. an adult sentence of 15 months, which it stayed until his twenty-first birthday and ordered him to complete a nine-month program at Elmore Academy.  M.R.B. then requested that the court execute his adult sentence; the court granted his request.  This appeal followed.  


            The district court’s decision whether to allow withdrawal of a guilty plea is reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard.  Kim v. State,434 N.W.2d 263, 266 (Minn. 1989).  To determine whether there has been an abuse of discretion, the reviewing court considers all the facts and surrounding circumstances forming the basis of the district court’s decision.  State v. Hayes, 150 N.W.2d 552, 553-54 (Minn. 1967).

            Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05 provides two bases for withdrawal of a guilty plea:

[s]ubdivision 1 gives a defendant, upon timely motion, a right to withdraw his guilty plea at any time, before or after sentence, if he can prove that withdrawal is necessary to correct a manifest injustice.  On the other hand, under subdivision 2 a defendant, in the discretion of the trial court, may be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea only if the defendant has not been sentenced and only “if it is fair and just to do so.”

Kim,434 N.W.2d at 266 (quoting Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 2). 

            M.R.B. argues that the withdrawal of his guilty plea is necessary to correct a manifest injustice, or in the alternative, that there is a “fair and just” reason for withdrawing his plea.  In order to be valid, a guilty plea must be “accurate, voluntary, and intelligent (i.e., knowingly and understandingly made).”  State v. Ecker, 524 N.W.2d 712, 716 (Minn. 1994).  If these three prerequisites are not met, manifest injustice occurs and the defendant has the right to withdraw the plea.  Perkins v. State,559 N.W.2d 678, 688 (Minn. 1997).  A guilty plea is accurate if a proper factual basis is established.  Ecker, 524 N.W.2d at 716A plea is voluntary if it is not in response to improper pressures or inducements.  Alanis v. State, 583 N.W.2d 573, 577 (Minn. 1998).  And a plea is intelligent if the defendant knows and understands the charges, the rights he or she is waiving, and the consequences of the plea.  State v. Aviles-Alvarez,561 N.W. 2d 523, 526 (Minn. App. 1997), review denied (Minn. June 11, 1997). 

            In this case the district court found that the guilty plea was voluntary, accurate, and intelligently made.  This finding of fact will not be disturbed unless clearly erroneous.  See State v Danh, 516 N.W. 2d 539, 544 (Minn. 1994) (voluntariness of guilty plea to be reviewed under clearly erroneous standard).  We find no such error.  At the plea hearing, the judge questioned M.R.B. about the acts giving rise to each element of the offenses, and M.R.B. admitted these acts under oath.  The judge explained the juvenile justice process, including EJJ, to M.R.B.  She gave him adequate time to discuss his guilty plea with his father and with his counsel, who had represented him throughout the proceeding.  When the judge asked whether M.R.B. wished additional time to speak with his parents about the plea, he replied that he did not.  Finally, the judge asked him, “[a]re you pleading guilty just to get out of detention or are you pleading guilty because in fact you are guilty?”  He replied, “[b]ecause I am guilty.”  No manifest injustice occurred here.

Nor has M.R.B. sustained his burden of proving that there is a “fair and just” reason for withdrawing his guilty plea under Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 2.  See State v. Kaiser, 469 N.W.2d 316, 319 (Minn. 1991) (explaining that defendant has burden of proving a fair and just reason for wanting to withdraw a plea).  He relies on a line of pre-Kim cases to argue that trial courts should be lenient in allowing the withdrawal of a plea before sentencing.  But in Kim, the Minnesota Supreme Court specifically rejected this view:

Underlying [Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 2] is the notion that giving a defendant an absolute right to withdraw a plea before sentencing would undermine the integrity of the plea-taking process.  If a guilty plea can be withdrawn for any reason or without good reason at any time before sentence is imposed, then the process of accepting guilty pleas would simply be a means of continuing the trial to some indefinite date in the future when the defendant might see fit to come in and make a motion to withdraw his plea.  The ultimate decision is left to the sound discretion of the trial court, and it will be reversed only in the rare case in which the appellate court can fairly conclude that the trial court abused its discretion.

434 N.W.2d at 266 (emphasis added) (quotation and citations omitted).  This is not such a rare case.  M.R.B. admitted the elements of each offense under oath.  He had sufficient time to discuss the plea with both his attorney and his family.  Finally, he only sought to withdraw the plea when he did not like the proposed disposition.  The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying his request.





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