of Appellate Courts Yellow Medicine County
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender,
Veronica May Surges, Assistant State Public Defender, Saint
Paul, Minnesota, for appellant.
Swanson, Attorney General, Edwin W. Stockmeyer, Assistant
Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Keith Helgeson,
Yellow Medicine County Attorney, Granite Falls, Minnesota,
postconviction court did not abuse its discretion when it
denied the appellant's request to withdraw his guilty
case requires us to determine whether an allegedly erroneous
ruling by the district court entitles appellant Andrew Joseph
Dikken to withdraw his guilty plea to first-degree-murder
charges. Because the district court's alleged error-the
rejection of Dikken's earlier unconditional guilty plea
to second-degree-murder charges-does not give rise to a
manifest injustice entitling Dikken to withdraw his plea, we
affirm the postconviction court's decision to deny relief
without holding an evidentiary hearing.
shot and killed two people, including his ex-girlfriend,
after breaking into her home. After Dikken surrendered to the
authorities, the State of Minnesota charged him with two
counts of second-degree intentional murder. Minn. Stat.
§ 609.19, subd. 1(1) (2016). During his second
appearance in court-a hearing required by Minn. R. Crim. P.
8-Dikken did not seek to enter a plea, nor did the State
provide notice of its intent to seek an indictment.
Accordingly, Dikken was not arraigned at that time, and the
district court scheduled the next hearing, an omnibus hearing
under Minn. R. Crim. P. 11, for approximately 2 months later.
the omnibus hearing, Dikken filed a petition to plead guilty
to both second-degree-murder counts. The district court then
held a guilty-plea hearing. Right before the hearing, the
State notified the court and Dikken of its intent to seek a
grand-jury indictment on first-degree-murder charges. Based
on the State's notice, the court denied Dikken's
petition to plead guilty. See Minn. R. Crim. P.
8.02, subd. 2 ("If the complaint charges a homicide, and
the prosecuting attorney notifies the court that the case
will be presented to the grand jury . . . the defendant
cannot enter a plea at the Rule 8 hearing.").
2 weeks later, a grand jury returned an indictment charging
Dikken with six counts of first-degree murder. Following the
indictment, the State dismissed the second-degree-murder
charges. Dikken ultimately reached a plea agreement with the
State under which he pleaded guilty to one count of
first-degree premeditated murder and one count of
first-degree murder while committing a burglary. Minn. Stat.
§ 609.185(a)(1), (3) (2016). The district court accepted
the plea; convicted Dikken of both counts; and sentenced him
to two concurrent life sentences, one without the possibility
filed a timely petition for postconviction relief requesting
that he be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea and instead
plead guilty to the original second-degree-murder charges.
The postconviction court denied the petition without holding
an evidentiary hearing, concluding that there were no
material facts in dispute and that Dikken had failed to
establish a manifest injustice entitling him to withdraw his
case arises out of the summary denial of Dikken's
postconviction petition seeking the withdrawal of his guilty
plea. Although we review the denial of an evidentiary hearing
and a petition for postconviction relief for an abuse of
discretion, Rhodes v. State, 875 N.W.2d 779, 786
(Minn. 2016), the overall question of whether Dikken's
guilty plea was valid presents a question of law that we
review de novo, Taylor v. State, 887 N.W.2d 821, 823
(Minn. 2016). "We [will] not reverse the postconviction
court unless the postconviction court exercised its
discretion in an arbitrary or capricious manner, based its
ruling on an ...