June 25, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Crim. P. 32(d) Does Not Allow Withdrawal of Pleas of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Laeke on Thursday, May 31, 2018.

Criminal Procedure—Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity—Crim. P. 32(d)—Withdrawal of Guilty Plea—C.R.S. § 16-8-115.

The prosecution charged defendant with one count of criminal attempt to commit unlawful sexual contact and one count of indecent exposure. These charges were based on events that occurred while defendant was a patient at a psychiatric ward. Defense counsel entered an insanity plea on defendant’s behalf over his objection. The court ultimately accepted defendant’s insanity plea, and it found defendant not guilty by reason of insanity. Defendant spent almost 10 years at the Mental Health Institute. Shortly after being placed in the community, defendant filed a Crim P. 32(d) motion to withdraw his insanity plea, which the trial court denied.

On appeal, defendant argued that the court erred by denying his Rule 32(d) motion. A request to withdraw a plea under Rule 32(d) applies only to guilty pleas and nolo contendere pleas, not to pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity. Further, an insanity plea should not be treated as the equivalent of a guilty plea for purposes of Rule 32(d). Rule 32(d) did not apply to defendant’s request to withdraw his insanity plea.

The order was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.