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Iannarelli v. Young

Supreme Court of South Dakota

November 8, 2017

MICHAEL A. IANNARELLI, Petitioner and Appellant,
DARIN YOUNG, Warden of the South Dakota State Penitentiary, Respondent and Appellee.



          DONALD M. McCARTY BENJAMIN KLEINJAN Helsper, McCarty & Rasmussen, PC Brookings, South Dakota Attorneys for petitioner and appellant.

          MARTY J. JACKLEY Attorney General JOHN M. STROHMAN Assistant Attorney General Pierre, South Dakota Attorneys for respondent and appellee.

          WILBUR, Retired Justice.

         [¶1.] Habeas petitioner asserts denial of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and Sixth Amendment right to counsel. We affirm.


         [¶2.] On February 16, 2007, Michael Iannarelli murdered his disabled wife and raped his fourteen-year-old stepdaughter. Afterwards, he made a pot of coffee and called 911. Iannarelli told law enforcement that he had killed his wife. The State charged Iannarelli with first-degree murder and second-degree rape. The State indicated that it intended to seek the death penalty.

         [¶3.] The circuit court appointed Attorney Roger Ellyson to represent Iannarelli. Attorney Ellyson had practiced law for over thirty years, including twenty years as a prosecutor. Attorney Ellyson informed Iannarelli of his rights and had him sign a document titled, "STATEMENT OF RIGHTS." That document provided, in part, that if Iannarelli were to plead guilty he would waive certain rights, including "the right to not be compelled to incriminate yourself."

         [¶4.] Attorney Ellyson later testified that he explored the plausibility of an insanity defense. He moved the court to appoint an expert witness to conduct a psychiatric examination. The court granted the motion, and Attorney Ellyson hired Dr. Stephen Manlove, a forensic psychiatrist. Attorney Ellyson believed Dr. Manlove could identify mitigating factors if the insanity defense seemed unlikely. He asked Dr. Manlove to give an expert opinion on whether "Iannarelli was insane (as that term is defined by statute) at the time the alleged offenses (murder and rape) were committed" and whether Iannarelli "suffered from mental illness at the time the alleged offenses were committed."

         [¶5.] After Dr. Manlove issued his report, Attorney Ellyson realized that it would not support an insanity defense but would support a plea of guilty but mentally ill. In the report, Dr. Manlove had opined with reasonable medical certainty that Iannarelli suffered from a major depressive disorder that impaired his judgment at the time of the offense. Attorney Ellyson also believed that Dr. Manlove's report contained mitigating evidence. He advised Iannarelli that an insanity defense would be unlikely and discussed a plea of guilty but mentally ill. Iannarelli has an IQ in the 99th percentile, and at all times Attorney Ellyson believed Iannarelli understood what was being told to him.

         [¶6.] Ultimately, Iannarelli agreed to plead guilty but mentally ill to first-degree manslaughter and to second-degree rape in exchange for the State amending the charge and not seeking the death penalty. Iannarelli entered into a written plea agreement, which contained a section titled, "WAIVER OF RIGHTS." In that waiver, Iannarelli indicated that he "fully understand[s] that by entry of the pleas of guilty BUT MENTALLY ILL herein, he will have waived . . . his right to remain silent[.]" The parties submitted the plea agreement to the circuit court. Iannarelli also submitted an affidavit and report from Dr. Manlove in lieu of a factual basis to establish his plea of guilty but mentally ill.

         [¶7.] On October 11, 2007, the court held a plea hearing. At the hearing, Iannarelli indicated his intent to plead guilty but mentally ill. The court took a recess and reconvened for a hearing on Iannarelli's mental health. The State and Iannarelli stipulated to the submission of Dr. Manlove's report as evidence of Iannarelli's mental health. The court reviewed the report and found that Iannarelli was mentally ill at the time of the offenses as defined in SDCL 22-1-2(24). The court also found a factual basis for each plea and concluded that Iannarelli's guilty but mentally ill pleas were voluntary, intelligent, and knowing. The court accepted Iannarelli's plea of guilty but mentally ill to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree rape.

         [¶8.] The court ordered Iannarelli to participate in a presentence investigation. The court indicated that as part of that presentence investigation and in consultation with the court services officer, it would request a psychological evaluation to assist in sentencing. In response to a question by the State, the court agreed that the psychological evaluation would include a psychosexual evaluation.

         [¶9.] Dr. Bradley Woldt, a clinical psychologist, evaluated Iannarelli. Dr. Woldt went through an informed-consent form with Iannarelli prior to the evaluation. Dr. Woldt later testified that Iannarelli indicated that he understood the form. Dr. Woldt conducted a mental-health assessment and psychosexual examination. Following the evaluation, Dr. Woldt issued a written opinion on Iannarelli's diagnosis and likelihood of rehabilitation. He also included a risk assessment. Dr. Woldt agreed with Dr. Manlove that Iannarelli suffered from a major depressive disorder and was likely experiencing a major depressive episode at the time of the offense but disagreed that it was to the level of "severe with psychotic features, " as Dr. Manlove had opined. In Dr. Woldt's opinion, Iannarelli posed a high risk to the community, and rehabilitation efforts would be lengthy and difficult. Dr. Woldt's report was made part of the presentence investigation report.

         [¶10.] On December 21, 2007, the circuit court held a sentencing hearing. The State referred to Dr. Woldt's report as support for imposition of the maximum possible sentences for Iannarelli's crimes. Attorney Ellyson relied on Dr. Manlove's report and argued for sentences less than the maximum. After hearing arguments from counsel and one victim-impact statement, the ...

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