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People v. Corrales-Castro

Court of Appeals of Colorado

June 5, 2017

The People of the State of Colorado, Petitioner
v.
Osvaldo Corrales-Castro, Respondent

         Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals Court of Appeals Case No. 14CA49

          Attorneys for Petitioner: Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General William G. Kozeliski, Assistant Attorney General Denver, Colorado

          Attorneys for Respondent: Meyer Law Office, P.C. Hans Meyer Denver, Colorado

         EN BANC

          OPINION

          EID JUSTICE

          ¶1 Osvaldo Corrales-Castro pled guilty to a criminal impersonation charge and he received a one-year deferred judgment. When Corrales-Castro successfully completed the deferred judgment in 2010, his plea was withdrawn and the charge was dismissed with prejudice pursuant to section 18-1.3-102(2), C.R.S. (2016), which provides that, upon "full compliance with [the conditions of a deferred judgment], " the guilty plea previously entered "shall be withdrawn and the charge upon which the judgment and sentence of the court was deferred shall be dismissed with prejudice."

         ¶2 In 2013, Corrales-Castro filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea pursuant to Crim. P. 32(d), which authorizes "[a] motion to withdraw a plea of guilty . . . before sentence is imposed or imposition of sentence is suspended." The district court denied the motion. The court of appeals reversed, holding that Crim. P. 32(d) authorizes the withdrawal of a plea that had already been withdrawn. People v. Corrales-Castro, 2015 COA 34M, ¶ 2, __ P.3d__, ___ .

         ¶3 We granted the People's petition for certiorari and now reverse.[1] We hold that the plain language of Crim. P. 32(d) requires that a "plea" exist in order for it to be "withdraw[n]." Therefore, there is nothing in the Rule that would authorize a district court to withdraw an already-withdrawn plea. Because Corrales-Castro's plea had already been withdrawn and the case dismissed with prejudice pursuant to section 18-1.3-102(2), there was no plea to be withdrawn pursuant to Rule 32(d). Accordingly, we reverse the court of appeals.

          I.

         ¶4 On May 12, 2009, Corrales-Castro pled guilty to criminal impersonation, and he received a one-year deferred judgment. Corrales-Castro successfully complied with the terms of the deferred judgment, and in May 2010 the court withdrew his guilty plea and the charge was dismissed with prejudice pursuant to section 18-1.3-102(2).[2]

         ¶5 In May 2013, Corrales-Castro filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea under Crim. P. 32(d), asserting that the plea was based on ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court determined that it lacked jurisdiction to consider Corrales-Castro's motion. The court of appeals reversed. Corrales-Castro, ¶ 2. The court held that Crim. P. 32(d) allows a defendant to seek withdrawal of a plea that has previously been withdrawn pursuant to section 18-1.3-102(2) when the plea has collateral consequences under federal immigration law. Id. at ¶¶ 26-27. We granted certiorari and now reverse.[3]

         II.

         ¶6 We review de novo the court of appeals' interpretation of Crim. P. 32(d). People v. Sandoval-Candelaria, 2014 CO 21, ¶ 11, 321 P.3d 487, 489.

          ¶7 Crim. P. 32(d) provides that "[a] motion to withdraw a plea of guilty or of nolo contendere may be made only before sentence is imposed or imposition of sentence is suspended." (Emphasis added.) Under the plain language of Rule 32(d), there must be a "plea" to "withdraw." Here, there is no such plea to withdraw, because the plea was previously withdrawn pursuant to section 18-1.3-102(2). Because nothing in Rule 32(d) ...


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