Yates v. State

In Yates v. State, 792 P.2d 187 (Wyo. 1990), the defendant had been convicted on three counts of delivering a controlled substance to a minor and one count of possession of marijuana and LSD with intent to deliver. 792 P.2d at 188. On three counts (Counts 1, 2, and 4) Yates was sentenced to concurrent terms of two to four years. Id. On Count 3, the trial court provided "that imposition of the sentence on Count 3 be suspended for a period of ten (10) years, Defendant to be placed on probation during that ten (10) year period, said probation to be served consecutively to the sentence previously imposed on Counts 1, 2, and 4." Id. The trial court stated that if there was a violation of probation, then "the suspension of imposition of sentence shall be terminated and sentence shall be imposed." Id. After serving his time on the first three counts, Yates violated the terms of his probation. Id. at 189. The trial court revoked Yates' probation and imposed a sentence of two to eight years on the previously suspended Count 3. Id. Yates then appealed from the order revoking his probation. Id. The Court held that a delay in sentencing in excess of a calendar year from the date guilt is established, whether by trial to a jury or the court or by plea, is presumptively unreasonable. Yates, 792 P.2d at 191. The Court explained the rationale behind our holding: The rule that we espouse protects important rights of the convicted defendant. It serves to prevent the possibility that a greater punishment than is deserved will be imposed because of subsequent conduct that results in a violation of the probation. Commonwealth v. Tiryung, 709 S.W.2d 454 (Ky. 1986). It also serves to ensure that any vagaries of memory will not interfere with the imposition of a sentence appropriate to the individual and the crime. State v. Fedder, 1 Utah 2d 117, 262 P.2d 753 (1953). Although these issues are not before us, we note in support of our policy that the punishment for a violation of probation is the imposition of the sentence for which the defendant was placed on probation and, further, as a general rule, any sentence imposed and then suspended during a period of probation may not be increased because of the conduct that serves as the basis for the revocation. The punishment for that conduct is the revocation itself. If the revocation is justified by the commission of a separate crime, the defendant may be convicted of that crime and then sentenced to the full extent permitted by law for it. See Annotations, Propriety of Increased Sentence Following Revocation of Probation, 23 A.L.R.4th 883 (1983), and Propriety, in Imposing Sentence for Original Offense after Revocation of Probation, of Considering Acts Because of Which Probation was Revoked, 65 A.L.R.3d 1100 (1975). (792 P.2d at 192.) Yates' sentence for Count 3 was not imposed until after the revocation of his probation, approximately four years after his conviction. Therefore, the Court concluded that the trial court had failed to impose sentence within a reasonable time, and the court's order imposing sentence upon revocation of Yates' probation was vacated. Id.