Sackett v. State, 013019 AKSC, A-12485

Docket Nº:A-12485
Opinion Judge:WOLLENBERG, JUDGE
Party Name:RONALD DEAN SACKETT, Appellant, v. STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.
Attorney:Megan M. Rowe, Denali Law Group, under contract with the Office of Public Advocacy, Anchorage, for the Appellant. Ann B. Black, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Criminal Appeals, Anchorage, and Jahna Lindemuth, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.
Judge Panel:Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, and Allard and Wollenberg, Judges.
Case Date:January 30, 2019
Court:Supreme Court of Alaska
 
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RONALD DEAN SACKETT, Appellant,

v.

STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.

No. A-12485

Supreme Court of Alaska

January 30, 2019

UNPUBLISHED See Alaska Appellate Rule 214(d)

Appeal from the Superior Court, Third Judicial District, Kenai, Trial Court No. 3KN-10-1858 CR Anna M. Moran, Judge.

Megan M. Rowe, Denali Law Group, under contract with the Office of Public Advocacy, Anchorage, for the Appellant.

Ann B. Black, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Criminal Appeals, Anchorage, and Jahna Lindemuth, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.

Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, and Allard and Wollenberg, Judges.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

WOLLENBERG, JUDGE

In 2012, Ronald Dean Sackett was indicted on twenty counts of first- and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor for repeatedly abusing his stepdaughter over a period of several years. On the first day of Sackett's jury trial, he sought to negotiate a plea agreement rather than face a long trial during which many of his friends and family members would testify against him.

The State and Sackett ultimately agreed to a resolution of the case. Sackett pleaded guilty to a consolidated count of attempted first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, encompassing acts of fellatio and digital penetration occurring in 2005.1 The State dismissed the remaining charges. Sentencing was left open to the court.

Prior to sentencing, Sackett asked his attorney to move to withdraw his plea. Because Sackett alleged that his attorney had provided ineffective assistance of counsel in connection with the plea negotiations, the court appointed conflict counsel to litigate the plea-withdrawal motion.

Sackett's new attorney argued that Sackett had received deficient representation from his prior attorney, that Sackett had not fully understood the elements of the offense to which he pleaded guilty (in particular, he had not understood the term "fellatio"), and that at the time of his change of plea, Sackett had been under the influence of medications that inhibited his ability to freely and knowingly enter his plea. The State opposed, arguing that Sackett had simply changed his mind.

Following an evidentiary hearing at which Sackett and his trial attorney testified, the court rejected each of...

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