200 P.3d 1148 (Idaho 2009), 35116, DeRushe v. State

Docket Nº:35116.
Citation:200 P.3d 1148, 146 Idaho 599
Opinion Judge:EISMANN, Chief Justice.
Party Name:William Kris DeRush
Attorney:Molly J. Huskey, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Diane M. Walker argued., Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Kenneth K. Jorgensen argued.
Judge Panel:EISMANN, Chief Justice. Justices BURDICK, J. JONES, W. JONES and HORTON concur.
Case Date:January 22, 2009
Court:Supreme Court of Idaho
 
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Page 1148

200 P.3d 1148 (Idaho 2009)

146 Idaho 599

William Kris DeRushé, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

STATE of Idaho, Respondent.

No. 35116.

Supreme Court of Idaho, Boise

January 22, 2009

Page 1149

[146 Idaho 600] Molly J. Huskey, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Diane M. Walker argued.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Kenneth K. Jorgensen argued.

EISMANN, Chief Justice.

This is an appeal from the dismissal of an application for post-conviction relief. We hold that the district court erred in dismissing the claim that the applicant had been denied the right to testify in his own behalf during the underlying criminal trial. We also hold that an applicant cannot challenge for the first time on appeal the sufficiency of the grounds stated in connection with the State's motion for summary disposition. We remand for further consideration of the claim that the applicant was denied his right to testify in his own behalf.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A jury found William DeRushé guilty of murder in the second degree. He pled guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm, and admitted to being a persistent violator. For the offense of murder in the second degree, the district court sentenced DeRushé to twenty years in the custody of the Idaho Board of Correction, with seven years fixed and the balance of the sentence indeterminate. The court sentenced him to a concurrent sentence of five years fixed in the custody of the Idaho Board of Correction for the offense of unlawful possession of a firearm. DeRushé appealed his sentence, and the Court of Appeals affirmed it on appeal in an unpublished opinion.

On June 17, 2005, DeRushé filed a pro se verified application for post-conviction relief and a supporting affidavit. He alleged errors in the underlying criminal proceeding by his trial counsel, by the prosecuting attorney, and by the jury. The alleged errors by his trial counsel were: (a) that his trial counsel deprived him of the right to testify in his own behalf; (b) that his trial counsel deprived him of his right to waive a jury trial; (c) that his trial counsel failed to investigate adequately the facts; (d) that his trial counsel failed to subpoena and call expert and other material witnesses; (e) that his trial counsel failed to have a psychological examination of DeRushé conducted prior to trial; (f) that his trial counsel failed to move for a new trial; and (g) that his defense counsel failed to adequately cross-examine a witness. The alleged errors by the prosecuting attorney were: (a) that the prosecution relied upon perjured testimony from four witnesses; and (b) that the prosecutor failed to provide his defense counsel with transcripts of all interviews with witnesses. The alleged error by the jury was that the jury failed to follow the instructions. According to DeRushé, had the jury done so it would have acquitted him.

On June 27, 2005, the district court appointed counsel for DeRushé . On December 13, 2005, the State filed a motion seeking summary disposition dismissing this action. It accompanied the motion with a memorandum stating the grounds for the motion. DeRushé responded by filing another affidavit. The motion was heard on May 26, 2006, and at the conclusion of the hearing the district court orally granted the motion. On June 8, 2006, the court entered an order dismissing this action. DeRushé then timely appealed.

Page 1150

[146 Idaho 601] The appeal was initially heard by the Court of Appeals. In an unpublished opinion, it affirmed the district court in part and reversed it in part, and remanded the case for further proceedings. We then granted the State's petition for review. In cases that come before this Court on a petition for review of a Court of Appeals decision, this Court gives serious consideration to the views of the Court of Appeals, but directly reviews the decision of the lower court. Head v. State, 137 Idaho 1, 2, 43 P.3d 760, 761 (2002).

II. ISSUES ON APPEAL

1. Did the State's motion for summary disposition state with particularity the grounds of the motion?

2. Did the district court err by failing to take judicial notice of the file in the underlying criminal action?

3. Did the district court err in summarily dismissing the claim that DeRushé was denied effective assistance of counsel because his trial counsel denied him his constitutional right to testify?

III. ANALYSIS

A. Did the State's Motion for Summary Disposition State with Particularity the Grounds of the Motion?

Idaho Code § 19-4906(c) permits either party in a post-conviction relief proceeding to file a motion for summary disposition of the application. The trial court can grant the motion when " it appears from the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions and agreements of fact, together with any affidavits submitted, that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Id .

Because a post-conviction relief proceeding is governed by the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure, Stuart v. State, 127 Idaho 806, 813, 907 P.2d 783, 790 (1995); I.C. § 19-4907(a), a motion for summary disposition must " state with particularity the grounds therefor." Saykhamchone v. State, 127 Idaho 319, 322, 900 P.2d 795, 798 (1995); I.R.C.P. 7(b)(1). DeRushé contends that for the notice to state its grounds with particularity, " The notice must identify with particularity why an applicant's evidence or legal theories are considered deficient. The notice must provide any deficiency in the applicant's evidence or any legal analysis that needs to be addressed in order to avoid dismissal of the petition."

The particularity requirement of Rule 7(b)(1) does not mandate that level of detail. The Rule only requires reasonable particularity. Patton v. Patton, 88 Idaho 288, 292, 399 P.2d 262, 264-65 (1965). If the notice is sufficient that the other party cannot assert surprise or prejudice, the requirement is met. Id. at 292, 399 P.2d at 265. This was not a situation as in Brown v. State, 135 Idaho 676, 23 P.3d 138 (2001), in which the trial court had wrongly denied appointed counsel and had granted the State's motion for summary disposition because the applicant failed to allege sufficient facts to entitle him to any relief. In Brown, we stated that when a pro se applicant has requested the appointment of counsel, " [i]t is essential that the petitioner be given adequate notice of the claimed defects so he has an opportunity to respond and to give the trial court an adequate basis for deciding the need for counsel based upon the merits of the claims." Id. at 679, 23 P.3d at 141.

The applicant for post-conviction relief is required to make a prima facie case by presenting admissible evidence on each essential element of his or her claims. Berg v. State, 131 Idaho 517, 518-19, 960 P.2d 738, 739-40 (1998); I.C. § 19-4903. If the ground for summary disposition is that assertions by the...

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