State v. Wayne A. Sutton, 2006 WI App 118, PFR filed 6/18/06
For Sutton: William E. Schmaal, SPD, Madison Appellate
¶16 Sutton next argues that the circuit court erred in accepting his plea on the charge of first-degree recklessly endangering safety because there was not a sufficient factual basis for that charge. When we review a circuit court’s determination that a sufficient factual basis exists to support a plea, we look at the totality of the circumstances surrounding the plea to determine whether the court’s findings were clearly erroneous. See State v. Thomas, 2000 WI 13, ¶18, 232 Wis. 2d 714, 605 N.W.2d 836. We approach this issue recognizing that where, as here, the plea is pursuant to a negotiated agreement between the State and the defendant, “the court need not go to the same length to determine whether the facts would sustain the charge as it would where there is no negotiated plea.” See Broadie v. State, 68 Wis. 2d 420, 423-24, 228 N.W.2d 687 (1975).
¶17 Generally, the factual basis for a guilty plea may be established by reference to the allegations set forth in the criminal complaint. See, e.g., State v. Harrington, 118 Wis. 2d 985, 988, 512 N.W.2d 261 (Ct. App. 1994) (complaint provided factual basis for burglary plea). Here, that approach is somewhat hindered because the charged offense was battery, but Sutton pled to reckless endangerment. Other facts may be gleaned from the plea hearing record, the sentencing hearing record, as well as defense counsel’s statements concerning the factual basis presented by the State. See Thomas, 232 Wis. 2d 714, ¶18.