This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).







State of Minnesota,


Johntaye Debarr Hudson,


Filed February 6, 2007


Wright, Judge


Hennepin County District Court

File No. 05008349



John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Ngoc Nguyen, Assistant State Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN  55414 (for appellant)


Lori Swanson, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN  55101; and


Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, David C. Brown, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN  55487 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Wright, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Crippen, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N




Appellant challenges his convictions of second-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, arguing that the district court abused its discretion by denying appellant’s presentence motion to withdraw his guilty plea.  We affirm.



Appellant Johntaye Hudson was charged with one count of first-degree murder, a violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 609.185(a)(1), .11, .05, .106, subd. 2(2) (2004); one count of second-degree murder, a violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 609.19, subd. 1(1), .11, .05 (2004); two counts of attempted first-degree murder, a violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 609.185(a)(1), .11, .05, .17, .106, subd. 2(2) (2004); and two counts of attempted second-degree murder, a violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 609.19, subd. 1(1), .11, .05, .17 (2004).  Pursuant to a plea agreement with the state, Hudson pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.[1]  Approximately one month after entering his guilty pleas, Hudson appeared at a sentencing hearing and moved to withdraw them.  The district court continued the sentencing hearing for one week to review the transcript of the guilty-plea hearing.  When the sentencing hearing resumed, the district court denied Hudson’s motion to withdraw his guilty pleas and imposed consecutive sentences of 299 months’ imprisonment for second-degree murder and 180 months’ imprisonment for attempted first-degree murder.  This appeal followed.



We review the district court’s decision to deny withdrawal of a guilty plea for an abuse of discretion.  Barragan v. State, 583 N.W.2d 571, 572 (Minn. 1998).  To be valid, a guilty plea must be accurately and intelligently made, Butala v. State, 664 N.W.2d 333, 338 (Minn. 2003), in the absence of coercion, State v. Ecker, 524 N.W.2d 712, 719 (Minn. 1994).  A defendant does not have an absolute right to withdraw a guilty plea once it has been entered.  Shorter v. State, 511 N.W.2d 743, 746 (Minn. 1994).  But the district court may permit withdrawal of a guilty plea under certain circumstances. 

The standard employed to determine whether to permit a guilty plea to be withdrawn depends on the stage in the proceedings when the motion is made.  Before sentencing, the defendant has the burden of showing that fair and just reasons for guilty‑plea withdrawal exist, with consideration of whether granting the motion would prejudice the state.  Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 2; Kim v. State, 434 N.W.2d 263, 266 (Minn. 1989).  After sentencing, the defendant has the burden of establishing that guilty-plea withdrawal is necessary to correct a manifest injustice, Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 1, which occurs if the guilty plea is not accurate, voluntary, and intelligent, Perkins v. State, 559 N.W.2d 678, 688 (Minn. 1997).  The fair-and-just standard for withdrawing a guilty plea before sentencing requires a lesser showing than is necessary to establish manifest injustice.  State v. Williams, 373 N.W.2d 851, 853 (Minn. App. 1985).

Hudson argues that the district court erred by denying his presentence motion to withdraw his guilty pleas.  Specifically, Hudson contends that, because he did not understand the length of the sentence he would receive under the plea agreement and because his guilty pleas were the product of coercion, he satisfied the fair-and-just standard for withdrawing his guilty pleas under rule 15.05, subdivision 2. 

We give deference to the observations and assessment of trustworthiness made by the district court in determining whether a guilty plea was valid.  State v. Aviles-Alvarez, 561 N.W.2d 523, 527 (Minn. App. 1997), review denied (Minn. June 11, 1997).  The district court rejected Hudson’s claims as lacking credibility.  Contrary to Hudson’s contention, the district court concluded that Hudson was fully knowledgeable of the terms and conditions of the plea agreement and anticipated sentence.  This finding is amply supported by the record. 

Before entering his guilty pleas, Hudson advised the district court that he had discussed alternatives to pleading guilty with his attorney.  Hudson acknowledged that he understood that under the plea agreement the district court could impose 27 and one-half years’ imprisonment for the offenses to which Hudson pleaded guilty.  Hudson also indicated that he had an 11th-grade education and was able to read and understand the guilty-plea petition.  Hudson also advised the district court that he had discussed each question on the guilty-plea petition with his attorney and had signed each page of the guilty-plea petition, indicating his understanding and agreement.  Hudson admitted the factual basis for the offenses and had no questions for the district court before the matter was set for sentencing.  At the sentencing hearing following the continuance, the district court recited from the guilty-plea transcript statements Hudson made that clearly established Hudson’s understanding of the terms of the plea agreement and the anticipated length of his sentence.[2]  Because both Hudson’s attorney and the district court reviewed Hudson’s plea agreement and anticipated sentence with Hudson at length, the district court’s determination that Hudson accurately and intelligently entered his guilty pleas is well founded. 

            Hudson also argues that his guilty pleas were not voluntarily entered because he had been coerced by his attorney.  The district court also rejected this claim based on Hudson’s written and oral statements at the guilty-plea hearing and his attorney’s representations to the district court.  Hudson’s signed guilty-plea petition indicates that his attorney fully advised Hudson and represented Hudson’s interests throughout the plea negotiations.  Under oath, Hudson acknowledged that he and his attorney had several conversations about Hudson’s rights and that Hudson understood that he did not have to plead guilty.  Hudson’s attorney advised that he and Hudson discussed each potential penalty and that he never attempted to influence Hudson’s decision to plead guilty.  Thus, the district court’s determination that Hudson’s guilty pleas were voluntarily entered also is supported by the record.

Notwithstanding the district court’s statement that it was “operating under Rule 15.05, subdivision 2, . . . within [its discretion] to allow [Hudson] to withdraw a plea at any time before sentencing if it is fair and just to do so,” Hudson argues that the district court erroneously applied the higher standard of manifest injustice rather than the fair‑and‑just standard.  In advancing this argument, Hudson relies on the district court’s consideration of whether the guilty pleas were voluntarily and intelligently entered.  But such consideration is proper when applying the fair-and-just standard and not, as Hudson contends, an indication that the district court applied the wrong legal standard.  See State v. Abdisalan, 661 N.W.2d 691, 695 (Minn. App. 2003) (holding that district court properly applied fair-and-just standard when it denied motion to withdraw guilty plea based on its findings that defendant understood his rights and the consequences of the sentence to be imposed and that defendant’s plea was voluntary), review denied (Minn. Aug. 19, 2003).  The record could not be clearer as to the district court’s application of the fair-and-just standard of rule 15.05, subdivision 2.

Accordingly, when denying Hudson’s motion to withdraw his guilty pleas, the district court did not err as a matter of law, and its exercise of discretion was sound.


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

[1] In support of his guilty pleas, Hudson admitted that he got into a car with two other men and went to an apartment with a gun to teach C.G. a lesson.  When they arrived, someone kicked the door open.  Hudson and the other two men fired guns into the room and fled the scene.  Hudson admitted that he intended to kill someone when he shot into the room.  Although C.G. was the intended target of revenge, J.P. was fatally shot and G.H. was injured.  Hudson, who was 16 at the time of the offense, was arrested for his involvement in the shooting and prosecuted as an adult pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 609.055, subd. 2(b) (2004), and Minn. R. Juv. Proc. 18.01, subd. 2.  

[2]                      THE COURT:  “Worst case scenario is you end up getting convicted of three counts and end up with potentially 75 years in prison, is that right?”  Your answer, “Yes.”  Question: “You understand if you accept the State’s offer then what they’re guaranteeing you is about 40 years, which works out to about 27 years that you’d have to serve?”  Answer: “Yes.”  You’re telling me you didn’t understand that?

[HUDSON]:  No, I didn’t . . . .

. . . .

THE COURT:  . . . Do you remember this plea petition that you went over with [your attorney] and you signed it, right?

[HUDSON]:  Yes, I did.

THE COURT:  You remember that on there it tells you that the imprisonment is 27.5 years?

[HUDSON]: Um, yeah.