Under K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-3210(d)(1), a district court has
discretion to grant a presentence motion to withdraw a guilty
or no contest plea for good cause. Appellate courts review a
district court's decision on such motion for an abuse of
discretion, including the underlying conclusion that
defendant did not establish good cause. Applying the abuse of
discretion standard does not involve reweighing evidence or
assessing witness credibility.
Factors a district court should consider in determining
whether a defendant establishes good cause to withdraw a plea
include, but are not limited to, whether (a) the defendant
was represented by competent counsel; (b) the defendant was
misled, coerced, mistreated, or unfairly taken advantage of;
and (c) the plea was fairly and understandingly made.
from Finney District Court; Michael L. Quint, judge.
F.A. Maughan, of Maughan Law Group LC, of Wichita, was on the
brief for appellant.
J. Lobmeyer, special prosecutor, Susan H. Richmeier, county
attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were on the
brief for appellee.
Alfonso DeAnda appeals from the district court's denial
of his presentence motion to withdraw his guilty plea to
first-degree premeditated murder. We affirm.
and Procedural Background
2008, Garden City police discovered a 16-year-old girl's
body in a trash dumpster behind the house where 17-year-old
DeAnda lived with his mother. The State charged DeAnda with
first-degree murder, rape, and aggravated criminal sodomy.
Before trial, DeAnda agreed to plead guilty to first-degree
premeditated murder in exchange for the State dismissing the
remaining charges. The district court accepted the guilty
plea, made a finding that aggravating circumstances existed,
and sentenced DeAnda to life in prison without the
possibility of parole for 50 years. See K.S.A. 21-4635.
appeal, this court vacated the hard 50 sentence and remanded
for resentencing as required by Alleyne v. United
States, 570 U.S. 99, 103, 117-18, 133 S.Ct. 2151, 186
L.Ed.2d 314 (2013) (jury must make aggravating factual
determination required for hard 50 sentence). State v.
DeAnda, 299 Kan. 594, 324 P.3d 1115 (2014); see also
State v. Soto, 299 Kan. 102, Syl. ¶ 9, 322 P.3d
334 (2014) (applying Alleyne to K.S.A. 21-4635
remand, DeAnda moved to withdraw his guilty plea. The
district court conducted an evidentiary hearing during which
the parties offered joint exhibits, including mental health
evaluations concerning DeAnda's competency. DeAnda and
Melanie Freeman-Johnson, defense counsel at the time of the
original plea, both testified. The court denied the motion,
"In utilizing the case of State v. Edgar [281
Kan. 30, 36, 127 P.3d 986 (2006)] in evaluating today's
case, Court finds as follows: Trial counsel in this matter at
the time that the plea was entered is one of the better
criminal trial attorneys that the Court has encountered. She
has exercised due diligence in representing the defendant in
all stages and actively solicited services and opportunities
on behalf of the defendant. . . .
"The second aspect of the Edgar case dealing
with being misled, coerced, mistreated, or unfairly taken
advantage of, the Court would find that this does not apply
to Mr. DeAnda's situation. We have had two previous
arraignments, one of which Mr. DeAnda entered not guilty
pleas and a jury trial was set. There is at least twice the
arraignment checklist that this court has used to identify
the rights of any given defendant or used and reviewed with
Mr. DeAnda in open record. There were written plea agreements
and waiver of right utilized to identify what the agreement
was and what rights Mr. DeAnda was going to be surrendering.
There was in addition a plea advisory of rights. Mr. DeAnda
had over the period of the two . . . and a half years had
three opportunities to go to Larned State Hospital to have
various additional medical and psychological experts utilized
both to assist him in adjusting his medications and to
ensuring that he was understanding the nature of what was
going on, and the medicines were adequately balanced and
properly monitored for purposes of being taken by Mr. DeAnda.
"Question on the third part of the Edgar
evaluation is whether or not the plea was fairly and
understandably made. Court notes that there were at the time
the plea was entered three charges against Mr. DeAnda. One
involved a life sentence. This is one that was ultimately
entered on in terms of a plea. Sentence would involve a life
sentence. There were two options that apply. Certainly at
that time one was a 25-year minimum sentence. The other was
for aggravating factors being applied, that the sentence
could be requiring a 50-year minimum sentence. There were two
additional counts that were dismissed as part of the plea
agreement. Both were charged as level 1 on the nondrug . . .
grid. Each of them had at least the possibility of an
additional period of time of jail of 165 months. That is the
aggravated number in a box showing the 'I' category.
That means that if he were to be convicted of all three
original charges, he could be facing or was running the risk
of facing an additional 13.75 years for each of those two
counts, or a little over an additional 27 years either above
and beyond the 25-year minimum sentence for life or the
50-year sentence as might be applicable.
"Court notes that mental health issues have been a
continuing problem for Mr. DeAnda for probably coming on ten
years now. . . . [H]e was dealing with some issues that were
requiring the attention of his family and medical staff. The
real issue is not necessarily whether or not he was having
mental health issues, because clearly he was. The issue is
whether he was capable of understanding the concept of
performing acts that would allow him to decide whether he was
acting right or wrong in terms of any moral . . . certainty.
"At the time the plea was entered, the Court finds that
Mr. DeAnda was in fact capable of making an informed decision
and did in fact intelligently act in that capacity . . . .
". . . Mr. DeAnda had received extensive assistance,
both in mental health care and in understanding the nature of
these proceedings . . . the motion for request setting aside
the plea entered by Mr. DeAnda is hereby denied . . . ."
timely filed a notice of appeal. Jurisdiction is proper.
K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-3601(b)(4) ("[A]ny case in which
the crime was committed on or after July 1, 1993, and the
defendant has been convicted of an off-gird crime.");
K.S.A. 60-2101(b) (Supreme Court jurisdiction over direct
appeals governed by K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-3601).
Standard of Review
argues for de novo review, claiming it is appropriate because
his due process rights are at stake. He cites State v.
Wills, 244 Kan. 62, 65-68, 765 P.2d 1114 (1988), for
support, but that case deals with the State's alleged
breach of a plea agreement. That is not what happened in
considering plea withdrawals, a district court has discretion
under K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-3210(d)(1): "A plea of guilty
or nolo contendere, for good cause shown and within the
discretion of the court, may be withdrawn at any time
before sentence is adjudged." (Emphasis added.)
Therefore, an appellate court reviews a district court's
decision to deny a plea withdrawal motion and the underlying
determination that the defendant has not met the burden to
show good cause for ...