State of Utah, v. Steeley

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State v. Steeley. Filed March 4, 1999  


State of Utah,
Plaintiff and Appellee,


Gary E. Steeley,
Defendant and Appellant.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 981358-CA

March 4, 1999
  1999 UT App 066 -----

Second District Juvenile, Farmington Department
The Honorable Michael G. Allphin

Scott L. Wiggins, Salt Lake City, for Appellant
Jan Graham and Laura B. Dupaix, Salt Lake City, for Appellee


Before Judges Billings, Jackson, and Orme.


Steeley first contends the trial court erred in determining he failed to show good cause for withdrawing his plea. See Utah Code Ann. § 77-13-6(2)(a) (1995) ("A plea of guilty . . . may be withdrawn only upon good cause shown and with leave of the court."). He argues that good cause arose because the trial court did not strictly comply with Utah Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 in accepting his guilty plea. "'We review a trial court's denial of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea under an abuse-of-discretion standard.'" State v. Penman, 964 P.2d 1157, 1160 (Utah Ct. App. 1998) (quoting State v. Blair, 868 P.2d 802, 805 (Utah 1993)).

The trial court has the burden of showing on the record that it strictly complied with Rule 11. See id. Even so, strict compliance may be achieved in many ways "'so long as no requirement of the rule is omitted and so long as the record reflects that the requirement has been fulfilled.'" Id. (quoting State v. Maguire, 830 P.2d 216, 218 (Utah 1991)). In monitoring Rule 11 compliance, we may review the "transcript of the oral colloquy between the court and defendant, contents of a written affidavit that the record reflects was read, understood, and acknowledged by defendant and the court, contents of other documents such as the information, presentence reports, exhibits, etc., similarly incorporated into the record, and so on." Id. (quoting Maguire, 830 P.2d at 218). Our thorough review of the record in this case--including the transcript of the colloquy between Steeley and the trial court and Steeley's affidavit-- shows that the trial court strictly complied with Rule 11. We therefore determine the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining Steeley did not show good cause to withdraw his guilty plea.

Steeley next argues the trial court violated his due process rights by not disclosing to Steeley before sentencing that the court had received a confidential letter from Steeley's ex-wife. However, the presentence investigation report (the report) and the attached victim impact statement of Steeley's ex-wife--to which Steeley had access before sentencing--contained virtually all the same information Steeley's ex-wife provided in her letter.

It is true that one specific piece of information regarding Steeley's alleged failure to pay property taxes on his marital home after claiming he had done so on his income tax return is in the letter, but not the report. Even so, in her victim impact statement attached to the report, Steeley's ex-wife had both generally and specifically alluded to Steeley's financial irresponsibility--allusions Steeley did not appear to contest. Moreover, the trial court did not mention that he had considered Steeley's alleged financial irresponsibility--either general or specific instances--in determining his sentence. The court referred only to the harm wrought by Steeley, the need for rehabilitation, and the urgency to remove him as a threat to society. Under these circumstances, we hold Steeley was not denied due process based on his ex-wife's letter to the trial court. See State v. Gomez, 887 P.2d 853, 854-55 (Utah 1994). We further determine the letter did not "materially affect[] the sentence defendant received." Id. at 856.

Finally, Steeley argues the trial court denied him his constitutional right to equal protection by not recommending that he receive credit for time served. However, "it is . . . the Board of Pardons [and Parole], and not the trial court, which has authority to grant defendant credit for the time he served prior to conviction." State v. Alvillar, 748 P.2d 207, 209 (Utah Ct. App. 1988); see also Rawlings v. Holden, 869 P.2d 958, 960-61 (Utah Ct. App. 1994) ("Under Utah's sentencing scheme, 'the trial judge has no discretion in fixing the term of imprisonment. He or she simply imposes the statutorily prescribed range of years, and the Board of Pardons determines exactly how long the prisoner is to be confined.'" (Citation omitted.)). The trial court is not required to make recommendations of any kind regarding sentencing. See Utah Code Ann. § 77-18-5 (1995) ("In cases where an indeterminate sentence is imposed, the judge and prosecuting attorney may . . . mail a statement to the Board of Pardons and Parole setting forth the term for which the prisoner ought to be imprisoned together with any information which might aid the board in passing on the application for termination or commutation of the sentence . . . ." (Emphasis added.)). This issue would thus be ripe for consideration only if the Board of Pardons and Parole decides not to grant Steeley credit for time served before sentencing.(1)

We have reviewed the other issues raised by Steeley and have determined that they are either disposed of based on our analysis of the above issues or are without merit; we thus decline to address them further. See State v. Carter, 776 P.2d 886, 888-89 (Utah 1989) (stating we "need not analyze and address in writing each and every argument, issue, or claim raised and properly before us on appeal").


Norman H. Jackson, Judge



Judith M. Billings, Judge

Gregory K. Orme, Judge

1. In making its sentencing determination, the Board may decide to refuse Steeley credit for time served and not offend the Equal Protection Clause. This is because Steeley's equal protection rights might not have been implicated here since he may have committed the offenses in this case while on probation for a past felony. See State v. Alvillar, 748 P.2d 207, 209-10 (Utah Ct. App. 1988).