State v. Npimnee, 052920 UTCA, 20200074-CA

Docket Nº:20200074-CA
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:State of Utah, Appellee, v. Hope Tuaka Npimnee, Appellant.
Attorney:K. Andrew Fitzgerald, Attorney for Appellant Alex J. Goble and Kendall G. Laws, Attorneys for Appellee
Judge Panel:Before Judges Gregory K. Orme, Michele M. Christiansen Forster, and Ryan M. Harris.
Case Date:May 29, 2020
Court:Court of Appeals of Utah
 
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2020 UT App 80

State of Utah, Appellee,

v.

Hope Tuaka Npimnee, Appellant.

No. 20200074-CA

Court of Appeals of Utah

May 29, 2020

Seventh District Court, Monticello Department The Honorable Don Torgerson No. 201700007

K. Andrew Fitzgerald, Attorney for Appellant

Alex J. Goble and Kendall G. Laws, Attorneys for Appellee

Before Judges Gregory K. Orme, Michele M. Christiansen Forster, and Ryan M. Harris.

OPINION

PER CURIAM.

¶1 Hope Tuaka Npimnee was charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, one count of possession of a controlled substance, a class B misdemeanor, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor. Npimnee filed a motion seeking "discovery" intended to compel the State to enter into plea negotiations. The district court ordered the State to comply with Npimnee's discovery request but clarified that the court would not become involved in plea negotiations. On January 16, 2020, Npimnee filed a second pro se motion requesting that an arraignment be held on January 20, 2020, "because I would possibly like to respectfully enter a plea in abeyance to all charges (or no contest) if prosecution agrees to stay prison for concurrent probation in case no. 191700135 [and] case no. 191700213." The State responded that negotiations would take place after the court held an initial appearance but that a plea in abeyance would not be offered. The court again denied the motion on the basis that the court does not participate in settlement negotiations and could not force the State to negotiate with Npimnee. On January 17, 2020, Npimnee filed a pro se notice of appeal from the denial of his motion for arraignment.

¶2 At his first appearance in this case, Npimnee wanted to resolve the case "today" and stated that he wished to represent himself. Based upon a colloquy and the court's previous experience with Npimnee, the court found that the decision to represent himself was made voluntarily and that he understood the consequences of representing himself and not having the assistance of an attorney. The prosecutor made a plea offer in open court for Npimnee to plead guilty to the two class B misdemeanor charges, and, in exchange, the State would dismiss the class A misdemeanor charge. The State further agreed to recommend that the sentences could run concurrently to sentences that Npimnee was currently...

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