Hike sentence

Wyoming Supreme Court upholds sentence of man who threatened wife with knife

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A man who rejected his attorney’s initial advice to plead “not guilty by reason of mental illness” to a criminal charge can no longer claim his attorney was ineffective, the Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled.

Judges on Tuesday unanimously rejected the appeal of Gilber Aldolfo Delgado Jr., who said he should have been allowed to withdraw his ‘no contest’ plea to the charges against allegations that he threatened his woman with a knife.

The decision stems from an incident in Evanston in November 2019 in which Delgado threatened his wife with a knife while she was driving their car. He was charged with aggravated assault and battery.

While in jail, Delgado’s attorney visited him and feared he might make statements she considered delusional, including that he was going to join the Denver Broncos football team as a than “promenade”, according to the decision.

The attorney recommended that Delgado plead not guilty by reason of mental illness, but he said he didn’t want to pursue the option.

Later, when Delgado was released from prison, he met with the attorney again, but showed no signs of the behavior that had concerned the attorney when they first met.

The ruling said Delgado’s father believed he suffered from a mental disorder and, while calling the police to report the threat, his wife said he needed mental help.

The attorney again suggested a plea of ​​not guilty on account of insanity, but Delgado said he did not want to enter such a plea because of the stigma attached and the possibility that he could be sent to the hospital. Wyoming State Hospital.

The attorney brokered a plea deal under which Delgado pleaded “no contest” to a reduced charge of possession of a deadly weapon with intent to threaten another, a felony.

“No contest” is not an admission of guilt, but a statement on behalf of the defendant that prosecutors could likely prove the charges in a court proceeding.

Delgado was sentenced to two years of supervised probation.

However, after entering the plea, according to the ruling, Delgado requested that he be allowed to withdraw it, in part because his employer had told him that if convicted of a crime, he would lose his job.

Also prior to sentencing, Delgado was diagnosed with alcohol use disorder and bipolar disorder. He said that when he threatened his wife with a knife he was having an episode of manic behavior and he argued that he should be able to withdraw his plea as a result.

The state district court denied Delgado’s request and he appealed, alleging that his attorney was ineffective because she did not request that he undergo a mental evaluation.

But the judges agreed that after their first meeting in prison, Delgado gave his lawyer no reason to suspect he needed a mental evaluation.

“Although Mr. Delgado made delusional statements in prison, these symptoms of incompetence did not persist,” the ruling said. “There was no evidence that at any time between the time Mr. Delgado was released from prison and the time he entered his plea of ​​no contest, did defense counsel have reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Delgado suffered from a mental illness or disability that impaired his ability to understand his position, understand the proceedings against him, conduct his defense rationally, or cooperate with defense counsel”.

In fact, his attorney successfully negotiated a reduced charge against Delgado which saw him sentenced to probation rather than jail, according to the ruling.

“Thus, the defense attorney made effective use of Mr. Delgado’s mental state, while representing him within the limits of his instructions,” he said.

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