State v. Mandel, 60891

Decision Date08 September 1992
Docket NumberNo. 60891,60891
Citation837 S.W.2d 571
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Ruth E. MANDEL, Appellant.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Dennis F. Nalick, Alton, Ill., for appellant.

Joan L. Moriarty, Asst. Pros. Atty., Clayton, for respondent.

SIMON, Judge.

Defendant, Ruth Mandel, appeals the denial of her post-sentence Motion to Withdraw Plea of Guilty under Rule 29.07. The state, by information, charged her with the class A misdemeanor of harassment, § 565.090 RSMo.1986. The case was set for trial on April 5, 1990. On that day, defendant entered a plea of guilty and she and her attorney signed the plea form. A pre-sentence investigation report was ordered, and sentencing was deferred to May 17, 1990. On that day, defendant was sentenced to serve a term of ninety days in the custody of Justice Services, work release granted, with the sentence to begin on Saturday, May 26, 1990. On May 23, 1990, defendant filed a Motion to Withdraw Plea of Guilty. On May 25, 1990, the court amended the beginning date for service of sentence to September 1, 1990, and defendant dismissed her Motion to Withdraw Plea of Guilty. On September 18, 1990, defendant filed a second Motion to Withdraw Plea of Guilty. On September 28, 1990, the court heard evidence on the motion and on October 12, 1990, defendant's motion was denied and she appealed. In State v. Mandel, 814 S.W.2d 16 (Mo.App.1991) (Mandel I ), we remanded the cause for the trial court to make certain findings, in particular: "If the plea of guilty would not have been entered in the absence of a mutually understood agreement then defendant is prejudiced by not allowing her to withdraw the plea of guilty and have a jury trial. If defendant would have entered, or did enter, the guilty plea knowing the terms of the agreement were as remembered by the prosecuting attorney there was no prejudice." Id., at 18.

Upon remand, and after a hearing at which no further evidence was presented, the trial court issued a five page order providing, in pertinent part:

The defendant and the state offered no further evidence. The court recalls that on the trial date of 4/5/90 after the state announced ready the defendant tendered a plea of guilty to the offense of Harassment, a Class A Misdemeanor. The court then asked the prosecutor if the state had a recommendation. The state then recommended 1 year in jail and a $1000 dollar fine. The defendant's attorney then said he understood that the state would make an open recommendation.

The state then responded with it was her understanding that the defendant was going to plead against the recommendation.

There was some further discussion between the prosecutor and the defendant's attorney generally reiterating the preceding. The court then told the defendant, the defendant's attorney and the prosecutor that it had not accepted the plea of guilty and since there was no agreement on the sentence that the parties should proceed to trial. There was some conversation between the defendant's attorney and the defendant. Thereafter defendant's attorney announced that the defendant did not want a trial and that the defendant would plead guilty to the charged offense, against the state's recommendation and rely upon the court's "good judgment."

The court then asked the defendant, who had been present at the bench the entire time, if this is what she wanted to do, and she responded with yes. The court then accepted the plea of guilty and ordered a pre-sentence investigation with sentencing continued until 5/17/90 for a return of the pre-sentence. ...

That court finds that at the time the plea of guilty was accepted there was no plea agreement. The defendant and her attorney knew there was no agreement. That the defendant entered her plea of guilty knowing she was doing so against the recommendation of the prosecutor's office and asking the court to not follow said recommendation in sentencing. That the court before accepting defendant's plea offered the defendant the right to withdraw her plea and proceed to trial, but that the defendant after conferring with her attorney voluntarily and knowingly entered a plea of guilty in spite of the state's recommendation. That there was no prejudice to defendant. Motion to withdraw guilty plea denied.

On appeal, defendant essentially contends that the trial court erred in: (1) accepting defendant's plea of guilty without advising her pursuant to Rule 24.02(b), and insuring her plea was voluntary pursuant to Rule 24.02(c); and (2) failing to follow the plea agreement procedure required by Rule 24.02(d). We affirm.

A guilty plea may not be withdrawn as a matter of right. State v. Choate, 639 S.W.2d 906, 908 (Mo.App.1982). Whether such a withdrawal shall be permitted is within the sound discretion of the trial court. Id. After sentence has been imposed, withdrawal of a guilty plea will be allowed only upon a showing that it is necessary "to correct manifest injustice". Rule 29.07(d); State v. Hasnan, 806 S.W.2d 54, 55 (Mo.App.1991). Defendant has the burden of proof to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, error in the trial court's ruling. Id. In consideration of whether defendant's burden has been met, the trial court weighs the evidence, determining the credibility of the witnesses. Choate, at 908. Appellate review of the action of the trial court is limited to a determination of whether the decision of the trial court was clearly erroneous or whether there was an abuse of discretion. Id.

The parties agree that there is no record of the plea hearing. Mandel I, at 18. In State v. Davis, 438 S.W.2d 232 (Mo.1969) our Supreme Court was faced with a similar situation where a record of the guilty plea proceeding was not available. In that case, defendant made a motion to withdraw his guilty plea and set aside the judgment of conviction and sentence under Rule 27.25 (now Rule 29.07(d). See, State v. Ryan, 813 S.W.2d 898, 900-901 (Mo.App.1991)). In Davis, at 234, defendant claimed that the trial court, in its perfunctory examination of the defendant at the time of his arraignment and plea, did not comply with Rule 25.04 which required the court to determine that defendant's plea was made voluntarily and with understanding of the nature of the charge, essentially the same determination required by our current Rules 24.02(b) and 24.02(c). Our Supreme Court held that regardless of the record made at the time the plea was entered, the issues before the court on a motion to vacate and withdraw a plea of guilty are whether the plea was in fact voluntarily made and with an understanding of the nature of the charge; and in determining the factual issues the court is clothed with the discretion ordinarily exercised by a trial court when acting as a trier of facts. Id., at 235[5-7]. In the absence of a transcript or the notes of the court reporter, the trial court must determine from the evidence otherwise adduced whether the defendant has sustained his burden of showing that he is entitled to the relief sought. Id.

Here, we initially address defendant's contentions under Rules 24.02(b) and 24.02(c), that the trial court erred in accepting her guilty plea without first inquiring of her in open court whether 1) she understood the rights she was waiving and the implications of a plea of guilty; 2) her plea was voluntary, and not the result of force or threats or promises apart from the plea agreement; 3) her willingness to plead guilty resulted from prior discussions between the prosecuting attorney and the defendant and her attorney; or 4) she had been misled by any misrepresentations tending to render her plea involuntary.

The record shows that at the hearing on the Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea, defendant presented no evidence to support her contention that the trial court failed to follow the mandates of Rules 24.02(b) and 24.02(c). Defendant and her attorney testified that there was an agreement between defense counsel and the prosecutor that defendant would plead guilty and the prosecutor would make an open recommendation upon defendant's plea. This testimony was designed to establish that a plea agreement...

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8 cases
  • Scroggins v. State, WD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • June 1, 1993
    ...a plea if the state had disclosed such evidence. A defendant does not have an absolute right to withdraw a guilty plea. State v. Mandel, 837 S.W.2d 571, 573 (Mo.App.1992). The motion court may grant the relief requested in a motion to withdraw guilty plea after imposition of sentence only u......
  • Sharp v. State, s. 66572
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • August 22, 1995
    ...the denial of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea, we must determine whether the trial court abused its discretion or was clearly erroneous. Id.; Scroggins v. State, 859 S.W.2d 704, 706 (Mo.App.1993). The defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the trial court erred. Man......
  • State v. Thomas
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • December 17, 2002
    ...620, 621-22 (Mo.App. W.D.2001), as follows: A defendant does not have an absolute right to withdraw a guilty plea. State v. Mandel, 837 S.W.2d 571, 573 (Mo.App. 1992). Such relief should be granted by a motion court only upon a showing that the relief of withdrawal of the plea is necessary ......
  • Wilson v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • May 31, 2000
    ...establish that the State entered a binding plea agreement with Mr. Wilson and then failed to honor the agreement. See State v. Mandel, 837 S.W.2d 571, 575 (Mo. App. 1992). The facts alleged by Mr. Wilson in his amended Rule 24.035 motion, even if true, would not entitle him to relief, so an......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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