State v. Baxter, 010518 IDSCCR, 45343

Docket Nº:45343
Opinion Judge:BURDICK, CHIEF JUSTICE.
Party Name:STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. ROY AYERS BAXTER JR., Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Eric D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Andrea W. Reynolds, Deputy Appellate Public Defender argued. Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Russell J. Spencer, Deputy Attorney General argued.
Judge Panel:Justices JONES, HORTON, BRODY and BEVAN, CONCUR.
Case Date:January 05, 2018
Court:Supreme Court of Idaho
 
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STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,

v.

ROY AYERS BAXTER JR., Defendant-Appellant.

No. 45343

Supreme Court of Idaho

January 5, 2018

2018 Opinion No. 3

Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Jason D. Scott, District Judge.

District court order denying motion to withdraw guilty plea, affirmed.

Eric D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

Andrea W. Reynolds, Deputy Appellate Public Defender argued.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

Russell J. Spencer, Deputy Attorney General argued.

BURDICK, CHIEF JUSTICE.

Roy Ayers Baxter Jr. appeals his judgment of conviction entered in the Ada County district court. On appeal, Baxter contends the district court abused its discretion by denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. The Court of Appeals affirmed, and this Court granted Baxter's timely petition for review. We affirm the district court.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On February 14, 2016, after drinking alcohol for most of the day, Baxter "backhanded [his] wife in the throat area" while the two were driving in his car. When they eventually stopped driving and got out of his car, they continued arguing, and Baxter "threatened to kill her and punched her in the arm." Baxter's abuse left his wife with "a traumatic injury" and bruising. A no-contact order prohibiting Baxter from attempting to "contact, harass, follow, communicate with, or knowingly remain within 100 feet of: [his wife]" was issued shortly thereafter, but Baxter "call[ed] and talk[ed]" to his wife "between 1-14 times" after the issuance of the no-contact order.

On March 17, 2016, the State charged Baxter with domestic violence under Idaho Code section 18-918(2) and violating the no-contact order under Idaho Code section 18-920. The State proposed a plea agreement, whereby, in exchange for Baxter's plea of guilty on the domestic violence charge, the State agreed to dismiss several other charges1 and recommend probation on the condition that a domestic violence evaluation rated Baxter's likelihood to reoffend at "less than high risk[.]" As an additional contingency, the plea agreement prohibited Baxter from "acquiring a new criminal charge or charges between the date of this offer and sentencing, even if the charge or charges are not yet conviction(s)."

Baxter was initially uncertain about whether to accept the State's proposed plea agreement. As Baxter's counsel explained: [Baxter] wasn't sure about how he wanted to proceed. I advised him, well, let's get a domestic violence evaluation and see how it turns out. And if ultimately it comes back less than high risk, we have a plea agreement for probation. You can decide what you want to do. So we did.

To that end, on June 17, 2016, Baxter obtained a domestic violence evaluation from Dr. Bill Arnold, Ph.D. During the evaluation, Baxter stated that he had "experiment[ed] with marijuana and cocaine, " but his only present usage of drugs was "social beer drink[ing]." He did not disclose use of methamphetamine. Further, Baxter explicitly denied hitting his wife or causing her injury. Dr. Arnold concluded Baxter "falls in the group of offenders who display a moderate to high risk of future violent offending."

On June 28, 2016, when the State reviewed the domestic violence evaluation, it grew concerned over "gross omissions" it felt Baxter had made concerning his drug use and violent conduct. The State informed Baxter's counsel that it would not recommend a bond reduction of less than $100, 000 with pretrial release conditions, but the State did not indicate it intended to challenge the evaluation.

On July 1, 2016, Baxter entered a plea of guilty under the plea agreement. Six days after the district court accepted Baxter's plea, the State contacted Dr. Arnold to communicate statements Baxter had made to the district court when entering his plea. The State recited its email during a hearing before the district court as follows: I am writing you about [Baxter] whom you conducted an evaluation on last month. I've included his attorney on this email so that he is aware of my communication with you. When I read the evaluation, I was concerned with the omissions [Baxter] had made, so I wanted to update you with the information he provided subsequent to your evaluation during his entry of plea last Friday.

I am not sure if it will change the outcome of your report finding a risk level, but thought it would be important for you to know and consider. When telling the court what he did, he said he had been drinking all day and doing meth. He said, quote, one thing led to another, and the next thing you know I backhanded her on the neck. Also in the scuffle with the neighbor, I did hit her in the arm, and she had a bruise, unquote.[[2

Please let us know if this has any impact on your finding of risk.

Dr. Arnold reviewed that information and, on July 8, 2016, concluded Baxter "now falls into the group of offenders who display a high risk of future violent offending." Dr. Arnold's conclusion in this regard discharged the State from its obligation to recommend probation since the plea agreement stated the State's probation recommendation was "CONTINGENT ON BEING LESS THAN HIGH RISK ON DV EVAL[.]"

On July 20, 2016, the State filed new, unrelated charges against Baxter for fraudulent misappropriation of personal...

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