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State v. Fugere

Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, District III

March 6, 2018

State of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Corey R. Fugere, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL from orders of the circuit court for Chippewa County Cir. Ct. No. 2015CF169: RODERICK A. CAMERON, Judge. Affirmed.

          Before Stark, P.J., Hruz and Seidl, JJ.

          SEIDL, J.

         ¶1 Corey Fugere appeals an order for commitment placing him in institutional care and an order denying his postdisposition motion to withdraw his plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect (NGI). Fugere claims his NGI plea was not made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily because the circuit court failed to accurately inform him of the correct maximum term of civil commitment he faced under W . S . § 971.17 (2015-16). IS TAT [1]

         ¶2 We conclude that while a circuit court must correctly advise a defendant pleading NGI of the maximum term of imprisonment he or she faces, a court's failure to accurately advise a defendant of his or her possible maximum civil commitment term does not render an NGI plea unknowing, unintelligent, or involuntary. The safeguards required for a valid plea apply only to the guilt phase of an NGI plea, and an individual's possible civil commitment resulting from an acquittal during the subsequent mental responsibility phase is neither a "punishment" nor a direct consequence of a defendant pleading guilty or no contest during the guilt phase. Therefore, a circuit court need not advise a defendant regarding his or her possible civil commitment-much less do so accurately-in order for a defendant's NGI plea to be knowing, intelligent, and voluntary.[2] Applying these standards to the facts of this case, Fugere is not entitled to withdraw his plea. Accordingly, we affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶3 In April 2015, the State charged Fugere with four counts of first- degree sexual assault of a child under the age of twelve. At the time the charges were filed, Fugere was committed at the Mendota Mental Health Institute on a prior order of commitment. In the earlier case, Fugere was found NGI of third-degree sexual assault.

         ¶4 A plea agreement was reached in this case, the terms of which were as follows: (1) Fugere would plead NGI to one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child, and all other charges would be dismissed and read in; (2) Fugere would waive his right to a trial on the issue of guilt and admit to there being a factual basis that he committed the crime; (3) both parties would stipulate that Fugere, as a result of a mental disease or defect, lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law; (4) both the State and Fugere would recommend to the circuit court that Fugere be civilly committed for thirty years; (5) Fugere would submit a DNA sample and pay the related surcharge; and (6) both parties would stipulate that the circuit court order a predispositional investigation to determine if a conditional release plan was appropriate.

         ¶5 Fugere then pled NGI to one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child. The circuit court explained to Fugere that the effect of his plea would be that Fugere was admitting he committed the act, but also that he was asserting he had a mental disease or defect that made him legally not responsible for the act. Fugere confirmed he understood this explanation.

         ¶6 The following exchange occurred during the plea colloquy:

THE COURT: You are not actually going [to] be found guilty of the charge today. You are going to be found [not] guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, which is a bit different, but it means you could be placed on supervision for up to 30 years.
[PROSECUTOR]: Sixty years is the maximum.
THE COURT: Sixty years, but the recommendation is 30 years, do you ...

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