State v. Biggs, 123120 IDCCR, 47547

Docket Nº47547
Opinion JudgeLORELLO, Judge
Party NameSTATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. ROBERT WILLIAM BIGGS, Defendant-Appellant.
AttorneyEric D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Elizabeth A. Allred, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Kenneth K. Jorgensen, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
Judge PanelChief Judge HUSKEY and Judge GRATTON, CONCUR.
Case DateDecember 31, 2020
CourtCourt of Appeals of Idaho

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,

v.

ROBERT WILLIAM BIGGS, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 47547

Court of Appeals of Idaho

December 31, 2020

Appeal from the District Court of the Sixth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bear Lake County. Hon. Mitchell W. Brown, District Judge.

Judgment of conviction and concurrent, unified sentences of thirty years, with minimum periods of confinement of fourteen years, for one count of lewd conduct with a minor under sixteen and nine counts of sexual exploitation of a child, affirmed.

Eric D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Elizabeth A. Allred, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

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

LORELLO, Judge

Robert William Biggs appeals from his judgment of conviction for one count of lewd conduct with a minor under sixteen and nine counts of sexual exploitation of a child. We affirm.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Pursuant to a plea agreement, Biggs pled guilty to one count of lewd conduct with a minor under sixteen, I.C. § 18-1508, and nine counts of sexual exploitation of a child, I.C. § 18-1507(2)(d). In exchange for his guilty pleas, the State dismissed eleven additional counts of sexual exploitation of a child and three counts of sexual abuse. The parties agreed to jointly recommend concurrent, determinate ten-year sentences with no agreement as to the indeterminate term; however, that recommendation was not binding on the district court. The district court sentenced Biggs to concurrent, unified terms of thirty years, with minimum periods of confinement of fourteen years. Biggs appeals.

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

An appellate review of a sentence is based on an abuse of discretion standard. State v. Burdett, 134 Idaho 271, 276, 1 P.3d 299, 304 (Ct. App. 2000). When a trial court's discretionary decision is reviewed on appeal, the appellate court conducts a multi-tiered inquiry to determine whether the lower court: (1) correctly perceived the issue as one of discretion; (2) acted within the boundaries of such discretion; (3) acted consistently with any legal standards applicable to the specific choices before it; and (4) reached its decision by an exercise of reason. State v. Herrera, 164 Idaho 261, 270, 429 P.3d 149, 158 (2018).

III.

ANALYSIS

Biggs argues that the district court imposed excessive sentences by failing to "give proper consideration" to certain mitigation evidence, including his amenability to sex-offender treatment, health issues, family support, and acceptance of responsibility and remorse. The State responds that the district court properly exercised its sentencing discretion and that Biggs has failed to meet his burden of showing otherwise. We hold that Biggs has failed to show the district court abused its sentencing discretion.

Where a sentence is not illegal, the appellant has the burden to show that it is unreasonable and, thus, a clear abuse of discretion. State v. Brown, 121 Idaho 385, 393, 825 P.2d 482, 490 (1992). A sentence may represent such an abuse of discretion if it is shown to be unreasonable upon the facts of the case. State v. Nice, 103 Idaho 89, 90, 645 P.2d 323, 324 (1982). A sentence of confinement is reasonable if it appears at the time of sentencing that confinement is necessary to accomplish the primary objective of protecting society and to achieve any or all of the related goals of deterrence, rehabilitation, or retribution applicable to a given case. State v. Toohill, 103 Idaho 565, 568, 650 P.2d 707, 710 (Ct. App. 1982). Where an appellant contends that the sentencing court imposed an excessively harsh sentence, we conduct an independent review of the record, having regard for the nature of the offense, the character of the offender, and the protection of the public interest. State v. Reinke, 103 Idaho 771, 772, 653 P.2d 1183, 1184 (Ct. App. 1982). When reviewing the length of a sentence, we consider the defendant's entire sentence. State v. Oliver, 144 Idaho 722, 726, 170 P.3d 387, 391 (2007).

At sentencing, Biggs asked the district court to impose the agreed-upon, concurrent, ten-year determinate sentences included in his plea agreement. In support of that request, Biggs highlighted his age (fifty years old at the time of sentencing), difficult upbringing, lack of treatment and counseling for his "underlying issues," and remorse. In imposing the sentences, the district court noted it "closely reviewed" the presentence investigation report and all of the materials related to sentencing, including a psychosexual evaluation. The district court expressly recognized the objectives of sentencing--protection of society, punishment, deterrence, and rehabilitation--but also acknowledged the existence of "mitigating factors and circumstances." The district court discussed, in detail, both the objectives of sentencing relative to Biggs's criminal behavior and the mitigation cited by Biggs. Ultimately, the district court exceeded the recommended determinate sentences because it...

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