This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).






State of Minnesota,


John Patrick Murphy,


Filed July 29, 2003


Minge, Judge


Ramsey County District Court

File No. K2931209


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


Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County Attorney, J. Michael Richardson, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)


John Patrick Murphy, 1000 Lakeshore Drive, Moose Lake, MN 55767 (pro se appellant)


            Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief Judge, and Minge, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


MINGE, Judge


            Appellant petitioned the district court for postconviction relief, requesting that he be allowed to withdraw his 1994 guilty plea.  Because the petition was filed nine years after the entry of the plea and because several of the challenges were raised in previous appeals and petitions, we affirm the district court’s rejection of appellant’s petition.



            In 1994, appellant John Patrick Murphy was sentenced to 96 months in prison and 450 months on probation based on a plea of guilty to ten counts of terroristic threats and one count of conspiracy to commit terroristic threats.  Murphy was released on probation in September 1998, returned to prison in March 1999 for 24 months because probation was revoked, and again released.  Probation was revoked a second time in December 2000 and Murphy was sentenced to 60 months in prison.

            In the current appeal, Murphy alleges that the district court improperly denied his request to withdraw his guilty plea.  The district court denied the motion on January 15, 2003, without a hearing.  The court noted that Murphy had

filed numerous piecemeal motions to withdraw his guilty pleas, which have been considered, denied and affirmed.  See e.g. State v. Murphy, 545 N.W.2d 909, 918 (Minn. 1996) (affirming 1995 WL 227643 at 2 (Minn. Ct. App.)); Court of Appeals’ Order Opinion dated October 19, 1999; Ramsey County District Court Order dated April 26, 2002; Ramsey County District Court Order dated December 20, 2001; Ramsey County District Court Order dated February 17, 1999; and Ramsey County District Court Order dated January 14, 1999


and that Murphy knew the alleged grounds for his request to withdraw his pleas at the time of his direct appeals. Thus, his request to withdraw his guilty plea was denied.  Murphy appeals. 



Murphy contends that the district court erred in summarily denying an evidentiary hearing on his motion to withdraw his guilty plea entered April 18, 1994.  Murphy contends that, despite his previous attempts to withdraw his guilty plea, he should now be allowed a hearing on his petition to withdraw his plea.  He bases his assertion on the grounds that: (1) his guilty plea was tendered and accepted in violation of Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.04; (2) the trial court erred by accepting his guilty plea when the prosecutor objected; (3) the trial court improperly interjected itself into the plea negotiations; (4) he was reluctantly induced into pleading guilty because of promises made by the trial court; and (5) he would have raised these issues previously but for the ineffective assistance of counsel. 

            This court reviews the district court’s denial of a postconviction motion to withdraw a guilty plea under an abuse of discretion standard.  Dukes v. State, 621 N.W.2d 246, 251 (Minn. 2001) (district court decisions regarding postconviction motions will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion).  Once a guilty plea has been entered, a defendant has no absolute right to withdraw the plea.  Alanis v. State, 583 N.W.2d 573, 577 (Minn. 1998).  Public policy supports the finality of judgments and thus courts

are not disposed to encourage accused persons to “play games” with the courts * * * by setting aside judgments of conviction based upon pleas made with deliberation and accepted by the court with caution. 


Chapman v. State, 282 Minn. 13, 16, 162 N.W.2d 698, 700 (1968) (quoting Everett v. United States,336 F.2d 979, 984 (D.C. Cir. 1964)).  Despite the apparent finality of a plea, Minnesota does allow for the withdrawal of a guilty plea to correct a manifest injustice.  Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 1.  A manifest injustice occurs if the plea is not accurate, voluntary, and intelligently entered.  Alanis, 583 N.W.2d at 577.  In addition, the withdrawal of the guilty plea must be timely.  Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 1; see also State v. Weisberg, 473 N.W.2d 381 (Minn. App. 1991), review denied (Minn. Aug. 13, 1991).  The burden of proving that a guilty plea should be withdrawn rests on the defendant.  Kim v. State,434 N.W.2d 263, 266 (Minn. 1989).

            In 1995, Murphy moved the court to withdraw his guilty plea asserting that it did not have an adequate factual basis, was not intelligently entered because he was not competent due to the influence of medication, and was entered without effective assistance of counsel.  This court affirmed the district court’s denial of Murphy’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea.   State v. Murphy, No. C3-94-1931 (Minn. App. Apr. 18, 1995), aff’d,545 N.W.2d 909 (Minn. 1996)).  These issues thus cannot be raised again in this appeal.  Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 3 (2002) (stating the court “may summarily deny a * * * petition * * * when the issues raised in it have previously been decided by the court of appeals or the supreme court in the same case”); see also Scales v. State, 620 N.W.2d 706, 708 (Minn. 2001) (finding district court may summarily deny a postconviction petition which raises an issue an appellate court previously decided).

            Murphy contends in the current appeal that “the record is replete with evidence that appellant was very reluctant to plead guilty” and that he was induced by the court’s “unqualified promises” to plead guilty.  But there is no evidence presented to the court in this appeal that would support these contentions.  A portion of the transcript is included in Murphy’s appendix, but nothing in that portion indicates that Murphy was reluctant to plead guilty.

            In addition, Murphy contends he should be allowed to withdraw his plea because the trial court improperly interjected itself into the plea agreement and made promises to Murphy regarding the terms of his probation.  Murphy contends he was injured because he was promised out-of-state probation and that promise was not fulfilled.  We reject this contention both because the record does not support an injury in fact and because Murphy previously appealed, in part on the basis that the district court could not impose out-of-state probation.  See State v. Murphy, No. C6-01-2026 (Minn. App. July 9, 2002).

Furthermore, Murphy contends that based on State v. Hoffa and Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.04, the trial court erred in accepting his plea over the prosecutor’s objection to the plea agreement.  State v. Hoffa, 511 N.W.2d 462 (Minn. 1994).  Murphy’s reliance on Hoffa is misplaced.  While that case does hold that the district court erred in accepting Hoffa’s plea over the state’s objection, it is distinguishable.  Id. at 464.  In Hoffa, the prosecutor offered a plea agreement, which the defendant rejected because he believed he would only be charged with the lesser of two offenses.  Id. at 463-64.  When Hoffa was charged with the more serious of the two offenses, he moved the court to proceed in accordance with the proposed plea agreement.  This motion was made on the day of trial, after the plea offer had been withdrawn by the prosecutor.  The district court in Hoffa granted the motion and the prosecutor appealed.  The Hoffa prosecutor argued that the district court erred because the late acceptance came after his office had completed all its trial preparation so the plea did not conserve any prosecutorial resources.  The case before us is different from Hoffa.  Murphy is appealing the plea agreement he accepted.  The prosecutor is not joining in this request.  Murphy does not have standing to appeal on behalf of the prosecutor on the ground that his sentence is too lenient or that the court rejected the prosecutor’s position.

            Minnesota law allows for the timely withdrawal of a guilty plea.  However, Murphy’s motion to withdraw is untimely.  See Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 1.  While the rule does not define “timely,” this court has previously examined the length of time between the guilty plea and the motion to withdraw the guilty plea to determine whether a motion is timely.  See State v. Danh, 516 N.W.2d 539, 541 (Minn. 1994) (holding motion for withdrawal of guilty plea four months after plea was timely); State v. Searles,274 Minn. 199, 200, 142 N.W.2d 748, 749 (1966) (stating motion for withdrawal of guilty plea after three years is untimely); State v. Weisberg, 473 N.W.2d 381, 383 (Minn. App. 1991) (stating motion for withdrawal of guilty plea made after 17 months is untimely), review denied (Minn. Oct. 11, 1991); State v. Lopez, 379 NW.2d 633, 636 (Minn. App. 1986) (holding motion for withdrawal of guilty plea made 11 months after sentencing was untimely), review denied (Minn. Feb. 14, 1986).  Although we recognize that in some cases withdrawal of guilty pleas may be allowed substantially after sentencing (e.g., Wensman v. State, 342 N.W.2d 150, 151 (Minn. 1984) (two-year delay not prejudicial so withdrawal of plea permitted)), such relief is exceptional and unusual circumstances must justify the delay in seeking relief.  Here, more than eight years after his guilty plea, Murphy does not point to such circumstances, and he is clearly outside the usual parameters for a timely request to withdraw a plea. 

Other points raised by Murphy are not persuasive: no evidence was presented that he was cajoled, coerced, or inappropriately pressured to plead guilty.  Decisions in previous appeals determined that the claim of ineffective counsel was not meritorious.  The involvement of the judge in the development of the plea was known to Murphy, available as a ground for an appeal, and not earlier raised.  The claimed injustice of not being incarcerated or paroled in a distant location is not sincere, in that Murphy earlier objected to such locations as improper.  Thus, based on these considerations and because (1) Murphy’s motion is not timely; (2) he does not have standing to appeal the plea agreement; (3) there are no new issues presented in this appeal; and (4) there is no evidence of manifest injustice; we affirm the district court’s denial of Murphy’s petition.