State v. Bonnell

In State v. Bonnell, 171 Ariz. 435, 831 P.2d 434 (App. 1992), a post-conviction relief proceeding, the defendant had pled guilty to a number of charges, including two counts of armed burglary. His plea to armed burglary had been premised on the assumption that theft of a weapon in the course of a burglary satisfied the elements of armed burglary. Subsequent case law revealed this premise to be mistaken. See State v. Rendon, 161 Ariz. 102, 103, 776 P.2d 353, 354 (1989). In response to that significant change in law, the Bonnell court remanded for a hearing to determine whether the defendant's conduct had indeed amounted to armed burglary. If not, "the defendant's guilty pleas to first degree armed burglary must be vacated and the original charges reinstated." Bonnell, 171 Ariz. at 438, 831 P.2d at 437. The Bonnell court explained that if the defendant, in each of the burglaries, had not committed acts that embodied the elements of armed burglary -- i.e., possessing a weapon with the willingness and ability to use it -- he had been "'convicted of a crime he did not commit.'" Id.