Matthew Eric Sagaser’s new attorney requested more time before a hearing on a motion to withdraw his client’s guilty pleas on counts of coercion, assault, strangulation and possession of methamphetamine.
At a Dec. 22 hearing, Grant County Circuit Court Judge William Cramer told Sagaser and his attorney, Ted Martin, they would have to convince him there was a compelling reason to withdraw the pleas. Cramer said, if he did allow the pleas to be withdrawn, no further bargaining would be allowed, and the case would go to trial.
“If I withdraw the plea, negotiations are over,” he said.
Cramer said he would allow more time before the hearing, if requested.
Martin said Sagaser wanted to be released from jail.
Cramer said, regardless of the plea, he would not release Sagaser without substantial security, and he mentioned a bail amount of $250,000.
Martin said he wanted more time to be able to complete his investigation before the hearing about the plea withdrawal. The hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 19.
In a motion filed with the court Dec. 15, Martin said he had reviewed new evidence with Sagaser, including video of a traffic stop and information from Sagaser’s phone.
Martin began representing Sagaser after he requested a new attorney and to withdraw his plea at a Nov. 19 hearing. According to a Nov. 15 court document filed by Sagaser’s former attorney, Robert Raschio, Sagaser believed Raschio failed to provide an appropriate level of investigation before Sagaser entered his guilty plea.
On Nov. 5, Sagaser pleaded guilty to one count of coercion, three counts of fourth-degree assault, one count of strangulation and one count of possession of methamphetamine after negotiation with Deputy District Attorney Matt Ipson. Sagaser originally faced about 30 charges after being arrested in October, including second-degree kidnapping, strangulation, five counts of coercion, nine counts of fourth-degree assault, four counts of menacing, nine counts of recklessly endangering another, possession of methamphetamine, felon in possession of a restricted weapon and criminal forfeiture.
On Nov. 19, Ipson filed a response to Sagaser’s motion to withdraw his pleas. Ipson said, with the guilty pleas, Sagaser faced anticipated jail time of 271 days. He said Sagaser was released from custody for one week “to get his affairs in order” before the jail term with certain conditions, including no use of intoxicants and providing urine samples upon request. Ipson said the court noted on the record that any release violations could lead to a different jail sentence. He said, when Sagaser checked back into jail, a urine sample was requested, which tested positive for methamphetamine.
Ipson said Sagaser knew his rights and voluntarily entered his pleas and that the motion to withdraw them should be denied.
“In sum, the State’s position is that the Defendant does not have a legitimate basis to now withdraw his pleas,” Ipson said in the Nov. 19 document. “To the contrary, he is asking to withdraw his pleas because he may face a harsher sentence.”
In other Circuit Court news:
• A plea hearing for Vincent Rex Tietjen on four counts of delivery of methamphetamine, two counts of manufacture of methamphetamine and five counts of possession of methamphetamine was postponed to Jan. 28 at the request of the defendant’s attorney.
• A plea hearing for Kathy Lee Meyer on one count of delivery of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school, two counts of delivery of methamphetamine, two counts of manufacture of methamphetamine and four counts of possession of methamphetamine was postponed to Jan. 28 at the request of the defendant’s attorney.