Nixon v. State (2002)

In Nixon v. State, 51 P.3d 851 (Wyo. 2002), the Court stated that generally, "a criminal case becomes final after judgment and sentence is entered and an appellate decision affirming the conviction has been made, or the time for taking an appeal expires without perfection of an appeal, or after the voluntary dismissal of such an appeal" and that except where there has been a remand following an appeal in a criminal case, or where one of the statutes or rules mentioned above i.e., Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-27-101 et seq., Wyo. Stat. Ann. 7-14-101 through 7-14-108, W.R.Cr.P. 35 otherwise expressly permits a district court to continue to assert jurisdiction over that criminal case, no authority exists for the court to act in the case--and its jurisdiction over the case should end--once the defendant's conviction has become final because of his exercise or forfeiture of his right to appeal from that conviction. In particular, unless "a specific, express exception is created to this general rule by statute or court rule, a district court's jurisdiction to consider a motion to withdraw a plea--or any other motion not specifically provided for by statute or rule--ends when the case becomes final because of the expiration of the time for taking an appeal." Nixon had filed a post-sentence motion to withdraw his guilty pleas to first-degree murder and aggravated assault and battery over three years after the entry of his pleas, three years after his sentence was imposed, and nine months after this Court affirmed his direct appeal. Id. The Court dismissed Nixon's appeal, finding that the district court was without jurisdiction to consider the motion to withdraw his pleas because Nixon's criminal case had become "final" for purposes of such a motion prior to the motion's filing. Id.