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Anthony v. State

Court of Appeals of Alaska

June 27, 2014

JERRY LEWIS ANTHONY, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee

Page 1028

Appeal from the Superior Court, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, William F. Morse and Alex Swiderski, Judges. Trial Court No. 3AN-10-5939 CR.

Hanley Robinson, Assistant Public Defender, and Quinlan Steiner, Public Defender, Anchorage, for the Appellant.

Nancy R. Simel, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, Anchorage, and Michael C. Geraghty, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.

Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Smith, Superior Court Judge.[*]

OPINION

ALLARD, Judge

Page 1029

Jerry Lewis Anthony pleaded guilty to felony driving under the influence in exchange for a reduced sentence and admission into the State's Felony DUI Wellness Court, an alternative therapeutic sentencing court. Under Anthony's plea agreement, the superior court was required to discharge Anthony from the State Wellness Court program (thus subjecting him to a significantly harsher sentence) " upon a judicial finding of probable cause that [he] drove a motor vehicle."

Anthony was subsequently discharged from the program for riding a bicycle with an after-market detachable motor. On appeal, Anthony argues that the term " motor vehicle" as used in the plea agreement is ambiguous and that he reasonably understood the term to exclude a bicycle with an after-market motor, in part because participants in the Anchorage Municipal Wellness Court had been allowed to use such bicycles.

We conclude a remand is needed to determine the objective reasonableness of Anthony's interpretation of the plea agreement given the reasonable expectations of the parties. We therefore remand this case to the superior court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Factual background

In June 2010, Anthony was charged with felony driving under the influence.[1] Several months later, he pleaded guilty to that charge in exchange for admission into the State's Felony DUI Wellness Court. Under the terms of the plea agreement, if Anthony successfully completed the Wellness Court program, his sentence and fine would be suspended. If he did not complete the program, the court would order him to pay a $10,000 fine and would impose a 5-year sentence with 2 years suspended.

Under the general terms of the plea agreement, the superior court had the discretion to sanction or potentially terminate Anthony from the program if he violated any of the terms of his agreement. In most circumstances, the treatment team would meet to discuss the violation and make a recommendation to the court with regards to the appropriate sanction.

However, the plea agreement also specified four circumstances under which the superior court had no discretion and was required to discharge Anthony from the program without input from the treatment team. One of these circumstances was " upon a judicial finding of probable cause that [Anthony] drove a motor vehicle." ...


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