Withdrawing a Guilty Plea In North Dakota

When a defendant applies for post-conviction relief seeking to withdraw a guilty plea, the application is treated as one made under N.D.R.Crim.P. 32(d). Greywind v. State, 2004 ND 213, P 7, 689 N.W.2d 390. Withdrawal of a guilty plea is allowed when necessary to correct a manifest injustice, and whether there has been a manifest injustice supporting withdrawal of the plea lies within the trial court's discretion. Id. A trial court abuses its discretion when it acts in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or unconscionable manner, or when the exercise of its discretion is not the product of a rational mental process. Bell v. State, 2001 ND 188, P 21, 636 N.W.2d 438. Furthermore, because post-conviction relief proceedings are civil in nature and are governed by the North Dakota Rules of Civil Procedure, a trial court's findings of fact in post-conviction relief proceedings will not be disturbed unless they are clearly erroneous under N.D.R.Civ.P. 52(a). Heckelsmiller v. State, 2004 ND 191, P 5, 687 N.W.2d 454. A finding of fact is clearly erroneous if it is induced by an erroneous view of the law, if it is not supported by any evidence, or if, although there is some evidence to support the finding, a reviewing court is left with a definite and firm conviction a mistake has been made. Id.