This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Ramsey County District Court
File No. K9-04-2421
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and
Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Patrick J. Swift, Assistant County Attorney, Suite 315, 50 West Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Richard Schmitz, Assistant Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue S.E., Suite 425, Minneapolis , MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Minge, Presiding Judge; Lansing, Judge; and Klaphake, Judge.
Appellant claims that the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea to a felony charge of receiving stolen property. Appellant asserts that the plea was not supported by an adequate factual basis. Because appellant’s plea was factually sufficient to establish that he received stolen property, we conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion and affirm.
The issue on appeal is whether the district court abused its discretion in denying appellant Babajide Grillo’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea before sentencing. Appellant claims his plea lacked an adequate factual basis.
Upon a timely motion, a defendant may withdraw a guilty plea at any time, before or after sentencing, if “withdrawal is necessary to correct a manifest injustice.” Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 1. “A manifest injustice occurs when a guilty plea is not accurate, voluntary, and intelligent.” Alanis v. State, 583 N.W.2d 573, 577 (Minn. 1998). Before sentencing, a defendant may withdraw a guilty plea “if it is fair and just to do so.” Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 2. Establishing the existence of a manifest injustice is more difficult than establishing a fair and just basis for withdrawing a plea.
A valid guilty plea has three requisites; the plea “must be accurate, voluntary, and intelligent (i.e., knowingly and understandingly made).” State v. Ecker, 524 N.W.2d 712, 716 (Minn. 1994). For a court to determine that a guilty plea is accurate, a factual basis for the plea must be established. Beaman v. State, 301 Minn. 180, 183, 221 N.W.2d 698, 700 (1974). “[T]he purpose of the factual-basis requirement is to ensure the accuracy of the plea, that is, to ensure that the defendant is guilty of a crime at least as serious as that to which he is entering his plea.” Id. “The court should not accept the plea unless the record supports the conclusion that the defendant actually committed an offense at least as serious as the crime to which he is pleading guilty.” State v. Trott, 338 N.W.2d 248, 251-52 (Minn. 1983). “[A]n adequate factual basis is usually established by questioning the defendant and asking the defendant to explain in his or her own words the circumstances surrounding the crime.” Ecker, 524 N.W.2d at 716. The district court has discretion to allow the withdrawal of a guilty plea, and an appellate court reviews that decision for an abuse of discretion. Barragan v. State, 583 N.W.2d 571, 572 (Minn. 1998).
Here, appellant pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, which consists of “receiv[ing], possess[ing], transfer[ing], buy[ing] or conceal[ing] any stolen property . . . [and] knowing, or having reason to know the property was stolen . . . .” Minn. Stat. § 609.53, subd. 1 (2002); 10 Minnesota Practice, CRIMJIG 16.48 (1999). The crime is a felony when the value of the stolen property is between $500 and $2,500. Minn. Stat. § 609.52, subd. 3(3)(a) (2002).
The initial complaint in this case charged appellant with theft based on a May 28, 2004 incident. That incident involved an unsuccessful effort to steal vacuum cleaners and electric razors from a Target store. The thief abandoned the items in the parking lot and fled in a vehicle registered to appellant. Subsequently, the prosecutor filed a motion to amend the complaint to add a second count of felony theft for an incident occurring on or about May 10, 2004. But at the plea hearing, the prosecutor amended the complaint to charge appellant with felony receiving stolen property.
At the plea hearing, the district court, the prosecutor, and appellant’s attorney questioned appellant concerning the facts and circumstances relevant to the commission of the offense of receiving stolen property. Under oath, appellant admitted that he pawned three Norelco Spectra Deluxe razors on May 10 and 14 in Minneapolis. Appellant stated that he received the razors from his brother for pawning purposes. He admitted that he “ha[d] an idea that” the razors were stolen. Appellant agreed that those razors had been taken from a St. Paul Target store. Appellant further agreed that the razors cost $199.99 each. Appellant admitted possessing the razors in St. Paul before pawning them in Minneapolis. He also answered “yes” when asked if he understood and had carefully reviewed and signed the written petition to plead guilty, and had discussed the petition with his attorney. Thus, there is an adequate factual basis for appellant’s guilty plea to the felony charge of receiving stolen property.
Appellant also contends, “At the guilty plea hearing, neither the judge, prosecutor, nor the defense attorney mentioned that the razors were not stolen from the St. Paul Target until May 28, or that the items taken on May 28 were abandoned in the parking lot.” Appellant did not plead guilty to felony possession of the goods taken in the May 28, 2004 Target incident. Rather, appellant pleaded guilty to felony possession of stolen goods received from his brother between May 10 and 14, 2004. Thus, the dates were not misleading as to whether appellant committed the charged offense. Appellant does not otherwise argue or present evidence that he should be able to withdraw his guilty plea on the grounds that it would be fair or just or that his plea was not voluntary or intelligent.
Based on the facts in the record, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea.