Supreme Court At-a-Glance Contributor Sam Harkinson, Previously employed as an Assistant County, Attorney, and as an insurance adjuster, now as an associate at Hoefle, Phoenix, Gormley & Roberts

No. 2020-0506

March 29. 2022

Vacated and Remanded

 

  • Whether, following the expiration of the time period to file an appeal, the circuit court retains jurisdiction to consider the merits of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea.

 

In December 2019 the Defendant pleaded guilty to a violation of operating after a suspicion license and the trial court imposed a fine.  In September 2020 the Defendant unsuccessfully moved to withdraw his guilty plea.  In denying the Defendant’s motion, the trial court did so without a hearing on the issue.  On appeal the Defendant unsuccessfully argued that the trial court denied his right to due process by denying his motion without holding a hearing.  The State successfully argued that the trial court lacked jurisdiction following the expiration of the thirty-day right to appeal.

In vacating and remanding the trial court’s denial of the Defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilt plea, the Court agreed with the State that its prior precedent, State v. Jaskolka, 172 N.H. 468 (2019), was analogous to the instant case.  Specifically, the Court concluded that the trial court lacked jurisdiction for issuing post-conviction relief, following the expiration of the time limits for appeal.

The Court concluded that the Defendant’s only avenue for relief was to file a writ of coram norbis, and since the circuit court is a court of limited jurisdiction it was not the correct venue for such a filing.

 

The Office of Attorney General John M. Formella, Assistant Attorney General Weston R. Sager on the brief for the State.  Wiberg Law Office, Sven D. Wiberg on the Brief for the Defendant.