This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Scott Anthony Black, petitioner,
Filed September 4, 2007
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 05014847
Stuart, State Public Defender, Jodie L. Carlson, Assistant Public Defender,
Swanson, Attorney General, 1800
Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Jean E. Burdorf, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge; Klaphake, Judge; and Muehlberg, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Scott Black pleaded guilty to felony fifth-degree assault in 2005. One year later, he petitioned to withdraw his guilty plea. Because the district court applied the correct standard in evaluating Black’s request for plea withdrawal and because Black was not denied effective assistance of counsel, we affirm.
F A C T S
The state charged Scott Black with felony fifth-degree assault following his arrest for domestic violence in March 2005. Black signed a plea petition waiving his trial rights and stating that he had discussed the petition with his attorney. As part of his plea, he acknowledged that during a confrontation with his wife he had held her down and yelled at her and that these intentional acts caused her to fear bodily harm.
At his sentencing hearing, Black moved to withdraw his guilty plea, but the district court denied his motion. Black did not appeal his conviction or the accompanying denial of his plea-withdrawal motion.
About one year after sentencing, Black filed a petition for postconviction relief. He alleged that he should be permitted to withdraw his guilty plea because it was coerced by his attorney and because he is innocent. The district court denied Black’s postconviction-relief petition after determining that plea withdrawal was not necessary to avoid manifest injustice. The district court also rejected Black’s argument that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Black appeals the denial of his postconviction request for plea withdrawal and, in a supplemental pro se brief, he also appeals the district court’s determination that he did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel.
D E C I S I O N
denying Black’s postconviction-relief petition, the district court evaluated
Black’s motion for plea withdrawal under the standard of “manifest injustice.” Black argues that the district court should
have evaluated his plea-withdrawal request under the “fair and just” standard
instead. When the facts are undisputed,
the applicable standard for evaluating a request for plea withdrawal raises an issue
of law, which we review de novo. See Butala v. State, 664 N.W.2d 333, 338
this case, Black made two separate motions to withdraw his plea. He first moved to withdraw his guilty plea on
June 3, 2005, before he was sentenced. Undoubtedly, the “fair and just” standard
applied to Black’s first motion.
made a new motion to withdraw his guilty plea on June 16, 2006, approximately
nine months after the expiration of his right to appeal the first denial. This second motion was a request for
postconviction relief and is independent of his first plea-withdrawal request. The “fair and just” standard does not apply to
this second motion because it was made almost a year after sentencing. The district court properly applied the
“manifest injustice” standard that applies to a postsentencing request for plea
withdrawal. The distinction between the
two standards is based on public policy, which favors finality of criminal
judgments. Kaiser v. State, 641 N.W.2d 900, 903 (
Black argues that the “fair and just” standard should apply because he made his original request for plea withdrawal before sentencing. But defendants should not be permitted to preserve the more lenient “fair and just” standard by simply failing to appeal a conviction that includes the denial of a plea-withdrawal motion. Permitting Black to collaterally attack the district court’s previous decision would defeat the policy of finality. Because Black’s second motion to withdraw occurred after sentencing, the district court properly applied the “manifest injustice” standard.
Black’s plea-withdrawal argument is directed solely to whether the district court applied the correct standard. He has not argued that the denial of his plea-withdrawal request created a manifest injustice. We conclude that the district court did not err by applying the manifest-injustice standard to Black’s motion to withdraw his plea.
defendant is denied effective assistance of counsel if (1) the lawyer’s
representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and (2) a
reasonable probability exists that the outcome would have been different but
for the lawyer’s errors. Zenanko v. State, 688 N.W.2d 861, 865 (
has presented no evidence that his attorney’s advice to plead guilty was not
based on an objectively reasonable assessment of the evidence. Black claims that his attorney’s advice was
unreasonable because the victim recanted and Black repeatedly proclaimed his
innocence. Black’s argument is not
persuasive. First, Black knew about the
victim’s attempted recantation before he entered his plea. Second, Black does not address the
significant amount of additional evidence that includes a citizen’s report, physical
evidence of injuries, and the testimony of the police. See
* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.