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State v. Hale

Supreme Court of South Dakota

January 24, 2018

STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
LANDON LYNDALE HALE, Defendant and Appellant.

          CONSIDERED ON BRIEFS ON JANUARY 8, 2018

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT MINNEHAHA COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA THE HONORABLE SUSAN M. SABERS Judge

          MARTY J. JACKLEY Attorney General PATRICIA ARCHER Assistant Attorney General Pierre, South Dakota Attorneys for plaintiff and appellee.

          D. SONNY WALTER Sioux Falls, South Dakota Attorney for defendant and appellant.

          SEVERSON, Justice

         [¶1.] The State and defendant entered into a plea agreement. At the change of plea hearing, the circuit court accepted defendant's guilty plea and the factual basis to support the plea. The circuit court did not indicate specific acceptance or rejection of the plea agreement at that hearing; nor did the court defer its decision to order a presentence investigation. Approximately two weeks later, the circuit court informed the State and defendant that it intended to reject the plea agreement. The State and defendant objected, contending that the court had previously accepted the agreement. After a hearing, the court entered an order rejecting the plea agreement. Defendant filed a petition for an intermediate appeal, which we granted. On appeal, defendant claims the circuit court was bound by the plea agreement, and the State agrees. We reverse and remand.

         Background

         [¶2.] The State indicted Landon Lyndale Hale on nineteen counts related to the kidnapping and robbery of Caden Jackson on July 23, 2016. In February 2017, the State and Hale reached a plea agreement. The agreement required Hale to plead guilty to a single count of aggravated assault and to cooperate in any upcoming trials against Hale's two codefendants. In exchange, the State would dismiss the remaining charges, including a part II habitual offender information. The plea agreement contained an agreed-upon disposition; specifically, a sentencing cap of suspended prison time.

         [¶3.] On February 15, 2017, the circuit court held a change of plea hearing. The parties informed the court that a plea agreement had been reached and presented the plea agreement to the court. The court re-arraigned Hale on the charge of aggravated assault. It explained the nature of the charge and that the maximum possible punishment was 15 years in prison and a $30, 000 fine. The court then remarked,

THE COURT: The plea agreement here does not let me use any of that penitentiary time immediately. The most it let's [sic] me do is send you to county jail for 180 days. I can suspend up to the full 15 years in the penitentiary. You'd be out on my probation. As long as you comply with the terms of my probation, you can keep yourself out of the pen. But if you mess up on probation, I'll have the 15 years or whatever amount I've suspended waiting for you. The state can bring you back to court and ask that I send you to the pen. You understand that?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am.
THE COURT: So Mr. Walter's plea negotiation keeps you out of the pen here today. But moving forward when you're on my probation the only thing that keeps you out of the pen is you not doing stuff like this. You got that?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am.
THE COURT: The Part II, which would have increased that felony-level charge, will be dismissed by the state, as will all of the remaining charges, including the kidnapping charge which would have had a life ...

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