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State v. Sanders

Supreme Court of South Dakota

April 6, 2016

STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
MAURICE SANDERS, Defendant and Appellant

         Considered on Briefs March 21, 2016.

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT HUGHES COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA. THE HONORABLE JOHN L. BROWN, Judge.

         MARTY J. JACKLEY, Attorney General, CRAIG M. EICHSTADT, Assistant Attorney General, Pierre, South Dakota, Attorneys for plaintiff.

         JEREMY LUND of, The Schreiber Law Firm, Prof. LLC, Pierre, South Dakota, Attorneys for defendant and appellant.

         ZINTER, Justice. GILBERTSON, Chief Justice, and SEVERSON, WILBUR, and KERN, Justices, concur.

          OPINION

         ZINTER, Justice

Page 106

          [¶1] Maurice Sanders pleaded guilty to forgery and engaged in a colloquy with the circuit court regarding the factual basis for the plea. The court accepted the plea and entered a judgment of conviction and sentence. Sanders appeals. He claims that the circuit court did not have subject matter jurisdiction because Sanders's factual basis did not affirmatively establish that the offense occurred in South Dakota. We affirm because an inadequate factual basis does not deprive a circuit court of its subject matter jurisdiction.

          [¶2] Sanders was indicted on one count of forgery in violation of SDCL 22-39-36.[1] Two and one-half years later, while incarcerated in Illinois, he made a request for disposition of the indictment. Pursuant to that request, he was returned to South Dakota to face the indictment under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act. With the assistance of court-appointed counsel, Sanders entered into a plea agreement with the State. The court subsequently advised Sanders of his statutory and constitutional rights, and he pleaded guilty to the charge. The court then engaged in a colloquy with Sanders to establish a factual basis for the plea. After determining that a factual basis existed, the court accepted the plea. During Sanders's subsequent presentence investigation, he indicated that he had lived in Pierre, that he had been employed in Pierre, and that the check was obtained from the EZ Payday Advance in Pierre. However, Sanders indicated that he forged the check

Page 107

in Illinois. Sanders never raised a factual issue about the location of the offense in the circuit court proceedings. The court sentenced Sanders without objection, and Sanders now, for the first time, raises the location of the forgery as an issue.

          [¶3] Sanders argues that the adequacy of a factual basis for a plea is a jurisdictional issue. He also points out that jurisdictional defects may be raised for the first time on appeal. State v. Neitge, 2000 S.D. 37, ¶ 9, 607 N.W.2d 258, 260. Sanders's argument begins with the contention that the circuit court failed to obtain a factual basis that the offense occurred in South Dakota.[2] See SDCL 23A-7-14 (Rule 11(f)) (requiring a plea-taking court to " defer acceptance of any plea except a plea of nolo contendere until it is satisfied that there is a factual basis for the offense charged or to which the defendant pleads" ). Sanders then points out that a plea-taking court is required to obtain a factual basis for each element of the offense. See State v. Nachtigall, 2007 S.D. 109, ¶ 5, 741 N.W.2d 216, 219. Sanders concludes that the " location of the offense is an essential element the court must inquire upon in finding a factual basis for a guilty plea because it is fundamental to subject matter jurisdiction[.]" Sanders, however, incorrectly conflates the factual basis requirement in SDCL 23A-7-14 (Rule 11(f)) with a court's subject matter jurisdiction.

          [¶4] The factual basis requirement in SDCL 23A-7-14 (Rule 11(f)) is not jurisdictional. See United States v. Timmreck, 441 U.S. 780, 783, 99 S.Ct. 2085, 2087, 60 L.Ed.2d 634 (1979) (concluding that a failure to comply with Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure is neither " constitutional nor jurisdictional" ); State v. Moeller, 511 N.W.2d 803, 811 (S.D. 1994) (concluding that failure to inquire into the factual basis for a plea is neither " constitutional nor jurisdictional" ); Petrilli v. Leapley, 491 N.W.2d 79, 83 n.2 (S.D. 1992) (same). Therefore, a failure to comply with the factual basis requirement in SDCL 23A-7-14 (Rule 11(f)) does not deprive the circuit court of jurisdiction over the subject matter alleged in the indictment.

          [¶5] Subject matter jurisdiction is " the courts' statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate the case[,]" United States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625, 630, 122 S.Ct. 1781, 1785, 152 L.Ed.2d 860 (2002), and whether a court has subject matter jurisdiction is determined by the indictment. State v. Janssen, 371 N.W.2d 353, 356 (S.D. 1985) (" a valid and sufficient [indictment] confers subject matter jurisdiction upon the court." ); State v. Osborn, 155 Ind. 385, 58 N.E. 491, 493 (Ind. 1900) (" jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the offense charged depends upon the ...


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