Supreme Court of the State of Washington 

Opinion Information Sheet


Docket Number: 80061-8
Title of Case: State v. Weyrich
File Date: 05/08/2008
Oral Argument Date:


SOURCE OF APPEAL
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Appeal from King County Superior Court
04-1-09829-3
Honorable Theresa B Doyle


JUSTICES
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COUNSEL OF RECORD
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Counsel for Petitioner(s)
Susan F Wilk
Washington Appellate Project
1511 3rd Ave Ste 701
Seattle, WA, 98101-3635

Counsel for Respondent(s)
Prosecuting Atty King County
King Co Pros/App Unit Supervisor
W554 King County Courthouse
516 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA, 98104


James Morrissey Whisman
King County Prosecutor's Office
W554 King County Courthouse
516 3rd Ave
Seattle, WA, 98104-2362




IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON

State of Washington,
NO. 80061-8
Respondent,
v.
EN BANC
StephAn Matthew Weyrich,

Petitioner. Filed: May 8, 2008

PER CURIAM -- Stephan Weyrich seeks review of a per curiam Court of

Appeals opinion affirming his convictions and sentence for theft and unlawful

issuance of a bank check. Weyrich argues that he was misinformed of a direct

consequence of his plea -- the statutory maximum he faced for his theft

convictions -- and that the trial court therefore wrongly denied his motion to withdraw

his guilty pleas. We agree and reverse the Court of Appeals.

FACTS
At trial, Weyrich entered an Alford1 plea to three counts of first degree

theft. He also entered a guilty plea on the unlawful check issuance charge. Two

separate statements of defendant on plea of guilty advised Weyrich that the maximum

1 North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 91 S. Ct. 160, 27 L. Ed. 2d 162 (1970).

No. 80061-8 Page 2

sentence for each crime, respectively, was 5 years. His judgment and sentence also

notes the maximum sentence as 5 years for each crime. In fact, the maximum

sentence for unlawful issuance is 5 years, but the maximum sentence for theft is 10

years. Despite the mistake, Weyrich was sentenced on both crimes within the correct

standard range.

Prior to his sentencing hearing, Weyrich moved to withdraw his pleas,

arguing that he had been misinformed about the possible sentence he faced and that

his pleas were therefore not knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently made. The trial

court denied his motion. Before the Court of Appeals, the State conceded that the

prosecutor mistakenly relayed an incorrect maximum sentence to Weyrich and that the

mistake was repeated on the plea form and the judgment and sentence. The State

argued in part, however, that because the trial court sentenced Weyrich within the

correct standard range, the mistaken maximum sentence had no actual bearing on the

plea. The Court of Appeals held that Weyrich failed to demonstrate a manifest
injustice warranting withdrawal of the pleas.2 State v. Weyrich, noted at 137 Wn. App.

1011 (2007).

ANALYSIS

Due process requires that a defendant's guilty plea be knowing, voluntary,

and intelligent. State v. Mendoza, 157 Wn.2d 582, 587, 141 P.3d 49 (2006); CrR

4.2(d) (2005). A defendant must be informed of the statutory maximum for a charged

crime, as this is a direct consequence of his guilty plea. See CrR 4.2(g), no. 6(a). A

defendant may challenge the voluntariness of his plea where he is misinformed of the

2 Weyrich and the State agree that although the misstatement concerning the
statutory maximum relates only to the theft crimes, because the pleas to the thefts and the
unlawful issuance charge were part of a package deal, if Weyrich prevails on this claim
both pleas would have to be withdrawn.

No. 80061-8 Page 3

sentencing consequences. Mendoza, 157 Wn.2d at 587-91. The defendant need not

establish a causal link between the misinformation and his decision to plead guilty. Id.

at 590; In re Pers. Restraint of Isadore, 151 Wn.2d 294, 302, 88 P.3d 390 (2004).

The State concedes that Weyrich was misinformed that the statutory

maximum for the theft crimes was 5 years, rather than the correct 10 years. See RCW

9A.20.021(1)(b); RCW 9A.56.030(2). Weyrich did not waive the error but timely

moved to withdraw his pleas before sentencing. See Mendoza, 157 Wn.2d at 591-92.

The State's argument that the error did not actually affect Weyrich's decision to plead

guilty requires the sort of subjective hindsight inquiry into Weyrich's decision of

which Mendoza and Isadore disapprove. "Accordingly, we adhere to our precedent

establishing that a guilty plea may be deemed involuntary when based on

misinformation regarding a direct consequence [of] the plea . . . ." Id. at 591.

CONCLUSION

Because Weyrich was misinformed that the statutory maximum sentence

for the thefts was 5 years, he should have been allowed to withdraw his pleas. We

reverse the Court of Appeals and remand to the trial court for further proceedings

consistent with this opinion.