State v. Fugere, No. 2016AP2258-CR

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
Writing for the CourtANNETTE KINGSLAND ZIEGLER, J.
Citation924 N.W.2d 469,2019 WI 33,386 Wis.2d 76
Docket NumberNo. 2016AP2258-CR
Decision Date28 March 2019
Parties STATE of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Corey R. FUGERE, Defendant-Appellant-Petitioner.

386 Wis.2d 76
924 N.W.2d 469
2019 WI 33

STATE of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Corey R. FUGERE, Defendant-Appellant-Petitioner.

No. 2016AP2258-CR

Supreme Court of Wisconsin.

Oral Argument: January 24, 2019
Opinion Filed: March 28, 2019


For the defendant-appellant-petitioner, there were briefs filed by Kathilynne A. Grotelueschen, assistant state public defender. There was an oral argument by Kathilynne A. Grotelueschen.

For the plaintiff-respondent, there was a brief filed by Luke N. Berg, deputy solicitor general. With whom on the brief Tiffany M. Winter, assistant attorney general, Misha Tseytlin, solicitor general, and Brad D. Schimel, attorney general. There was an oral argument by Luke N. Berg.

ANNETTE KINGSLAND ZIEGLER, J.

386 Wis.2d 86

¶1 This is a review of a published decision of the court of appeals, State v. Fugere, 2018 WI App 24, 381 Wis. 2d 142, 911 N.W.2d 127, affirming the Chippewa County circuit court's order.1 The circuit court's order denied Corey R. Fugere's ("Fugere") motion to withdraw his plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect ("NGI"), which was based on the circuit court providing inaccurate information to Fugere concerning the maximum period of civil commitment should he prevail on his affirmative defense to the criminal

924 N.W.2d 474

charges. The court of appeals affirmed the circuit court, and we affirm the court of appeals.

¶2 We conclude that a circuit court is not required to inform an NGI defendant of the maximum

386 Wis.2d 87

possible term of civil commitment at the guilt phase: (1) because a defendant who prevails at the responsibility phase of the NGI proceeding has proven an affirmative defense in a civil proceeding, avoiding incarceration, and is not waiving any constitutional rights by so proceeding in that defense; and (2) because an NGI commitment is not punishment, but rather a collateral consequence to one who successfully mounts an NGI defense to criminal charges. We therefore decline to exercise our superintending and administrative authority to require circuit courts to advise NGI defendants of the maximum period of civil commitment.

¶3 Fugere also requests that this court conclude that the circuit court's error was not harmless with respect to the misinformation provided to him concerning potential civil consequences should he prevail in his defense. The circuit court here provided accurate information to Fugere regarding the maximum possible term of imprisonment but inaccurate information regarding commitment, so we thus address whether the circuit court's error otherwise entitles Fugere to withdraw his NGI plea. We conclude that the circuit court's error was harmless because it was unrelated to the guilt phase of the NGI defense, and instead, the inaccurate information pertained to the potential civil commitment at the responsibility phase. Additionally, Fugere received the benefit of his plea agreement with the State and otherwise understood the consequences of prevailing on an NGI defense as he was already civilly committed for an unrelated charge. Thus, there was no manifest injustice, and we affirm the court of appeals.

386 Wis.2d 88

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL POSTURE

¶4 In April 2015 Fugere was charged with four counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 12. The complaint alleged that in 2008, when Fugere was 17 years old, he and another individual sexually assaulted an eight-year-old girl. At the time these charges were filed, however, Fugere was serving a commitment to the Mendota Mental Health Institute because of a different sexual assault charge for which Fugere had previously been found NGI.

¶5 A few months after Fugere was charged, the State and Fugere reached a plea agreement. Pursuant to the agreement, Fugere would plead NGI to one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 12, and the remaining charges were dismissed but read in. As a result, Fugere would waive his right to trial regarding guilt, admit that there was a factual basis that he committed the sexual assault, and the State and Fugere would stipulate that, based on the other case information and findings, Fugere lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or conform his conduct to the requirements of the law due to a mental disease or defect. The parties agreed to recommend that the circuit court order a pre-dispositional investigation report and that Fugere be civilly committed for 30 years to the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services ("DHS").2

924 N.W.2d 475

¶6 On August 24, 2015, Fugere filed an initialed and signed "Plea Questionnaire/Waiver of Rights" form and entered an NGI plea to the single count. At the

386 Wis.2d 89

plea hearing, the circuit court conducted a plea colloquy and, among other things, confirmed with Fugere that he understood the nature of the charges, that he was waiving his constitutional rights, including his right to a jury trial, and that the maximum penalty for first-degree sexual assault was 60 years.

¶7 During the plea colloquy, the circuit court also addressed Fugere's NGI plea. The court, the State, and Fugere's attorney all misinformed Fugere of the potential maximum period of civil commitment. The following exchange occurred:

THE COURT: You are not actually going [to] be found guilty of the charge today. You are going to be found [not] guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, which is a bit different, but it means you could be placed on supervision for up to 30 years.

[THE STATE]: Sixty years is the maximum.

THE COURT: Sixty years, but the recommendation is 30 years, do you understand that?

[FUGERE]: Yes.

Fugere informed the circuit court that he was aware of the 30-year recommendation even though 60 years is the maximum. Fugere confirmed that he had been on conditional release on another case and that he understood how conditional release worked. Fugere indicated that he did not have any questions. Fugere's attorney confirmed that Fugere would be exposed "to some 30 more years of supervision, could possibly be 60 years." His lawyer confirmed that Fugere understood that "if he violates any rules of supervision, he could end up back at Mendota or Winnebago during the next 60 years."

386 Wis.2d 90

¶8 The circuit court accepted Fugere's NGI plea, adopted the parties' joint recommendation, and ordered that Fugere be committed for 30 years and that a pre-dispositional investigation be prepared. The order of commitment specified that Fugere's commitment was to commence on August 24, 2015, and run concurrent with any other NGI commitments he was serving.

¶9 At the post-dispositional placement hearing on October 15, 2015, the court ordered Fugere be placed in institutional care. At the hearing, Fugere did not contest the report's findings and admitted he was "not ready" for conditional release. Fugere stated that he hoped he would be fit for conditional release in six months.

¶10 Just over six months later, on April 29, 2016, Fugere filed a petition for conditional release with the circuit court. The circuit court ordered an examination by an independent psychologist, who recommended that Fugere be conditionally released. On June 29, 2016, the circuit court granted conditional release subject to finding a suitable group home. The DHS was to provide a release plan within 60 days.

¶11 On August 5, 2016, prior to the 60-day time period elapsing, the DHS informed the circuit court that it was "temporarily suspend[ing] planning for the conditional release" because the State intended to file a complaint against Fugere alleging that he should be separately committed as a sexually violent person under Wis. Stat. ch. 980 (2015-16).3 The DHS further notified the circuit court that Fugere

924 N.W.2d 476

had recently committed a "new violation" by "having sexual relations

386 Wis.2d 91

with a peer at Mendota." The DHS additionally stated that it intended to revoke Fugere's conditional release following resolution of the State's chapter 980 petition.

¶12 On September 15, 2016, Fugere filed a postconviction motion to withdraw his NGI plea arguing that it was not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily entered. Fugere asserted that he was entitled to withdraw his plea because he was misinformed of the maximum civil commitment period. Specifically, he averred that the circuit court incorrectly informed him that he faced a maximum of 60 years, when the actual maximum was 40 years' commitment and that the circuit court inaccurately referenced supervision. In response, the State argued that an NGI commitment is not a punishment, and therefore the circuit court is not required to advise Fugere of his maximum possible commitment to render Fugere's plea knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily given. The State further argued that under State v. Bangert, 131...

To continue reading

Request your trial
7 practice notes
  • State v. Schmidt, No. 2020AP616-CR
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • June 18, 2021
    ...that burden by showing that he or she did not knowingly, 960 N.W.2d 894 intelligently, and voluntarily enter the plea." State v. Fugere, 2019 WI 33, ¶16, 386 Wis. 2d 76, 924 N.W.2d 469. ¶13 "Whether a guilty plea was entered knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily is a question of constit......
  • State v. Yakich, 2019AP1832-CR
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • February 16, 2022
    ...repeatedly recognized that the length of NGI commitments is intimately tied to traditional criminal sentencing. See, e.g., State v. Fugere, 2019 WI 33, ¶47, 386 Wis.2d 76, 924 N.W.2d 469 ("In Wisconsin, NGI commitment terms may not exceed the maximum confinement term of the charged criminal......
  • State v. Yakich, s. 2019AP1832-CR & 2019AP1833-CR
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • February 16, 2022
    ...repeatedly recognized that the length of NGI commitments is intimately tied to traditional criminal sentencing. See, e.g., State v. Fugere, 2019 WI 33, ¶47, 386 Wis. 2d 76, 924 N.W.2d 469 ("In Wisconsin, NGI commitment terms may not exceed the maximum confinement term of the charged crimina......
  • State v. Stowe, Appeal No. 2017AP1891-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • June 20, 2019
    ...sometimes referred to as an NGI acquittee, may be committed to the custody of the department. See WIS. STAT. § 971.17 ; State v. Fugere , 2019 WI 33, ¶¶32, 44, 386 Wis. 2d 76, 924 N.W.2d 469. NGI acquittees may file periodic petitions for conditional release from custody. See WIS. STAT. § 9......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • State v. Schmidt, No. 2020AP616-CR
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • June 18, 2021
    ...that burden by showing that he or she did not knowingly, 960 N.W.2d 894 intelligently, and voluntarily enter the plea." State v. Fugere, 2019 WI 33, ¶16, 386 Wis. 2d 76, 924 N.W.2d 469. ¶13 "Whether a guilty plea was entered knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily is a question of constit......
  • State v. Yakich, 2019AP1832-CR
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • February 16, 2022
    ...repeatedly recognized that the length of NGI commitments is intimately tied to traditional criminal sentencing. See, e.g., State v. Fugere, 2019 WI 33, ¶47, 386 Wis.2d 76, 924 N.W.2d 469 ("In Wisconsin, NGI commitment terms may not exceed the maximum confinement term of the charged criminal......
  • State v. Yakich, s. 2019AP1832-CR & 2019AP1833-CR
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • February 16, 2022
    ...repeatedly recognized that the length of NGI commitments is intimately tied to traditional criminal sentencing. See, e.g., State v. Fugere, 2019 WI 33, ¶47, 386 Wis. 2d 76, 924 N.W.2d 469 ("In Wisconsin, NGI commitment terms may not exceed the maximum confinement term of the charged crimina......
  • State v. Stowe, Appeal No. 2017AP1891-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • June 20, 2019
    ...sometimes referred to as an NGI acquittee, may be committed to the custody of the department. See WIS. STAT. § 971.17 ; State v. Fugere , 2019 WI 33, ¶¶32, 44, 386 Wis. 2d 76, 924 N.W.2d 469. NGI acquittees may file periodic petitions for conditional release from custody. See WIS. STAT. § 9......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT