State v. Edwards, 14769

CourtCourt of Appeals of Idaho
Citation708 P.2d 906,109 Idaho 501
Docket NumberNo. 14769,14769
PartiesSTATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Robert EDWARDS, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date23 October 1985

Page 906

708 P.2d 906
109 Idaho 501
STATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent,
Robert EDWARDS, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 14769.
Court of Appeals of Idaho.
Oct. 23, 1985.

Page 907

[109 Idaho 502] David A. Frazier, Coeur d'Alene, for defendant-appellant.

Jim Jones, Atty. Gen., Lynn E. Thomas, Sol. Gen., A. Rene Fitzpatrick, Deputy Atty. Gen. (argued), Boise, for plaintiff-respondent.

WALTERS, Chief Judge.

A jury found Robert Edwards guilty of robbery and grand larceny. On appeal he raises three issues: (1) the victim's identification of Edwards as the perpetrator should have been suppressed because it occurred under suggestive circumstances at the preliminary hearing; (2) he was deprived of due process when the state failed to secure and preserve potentially exculpatory evidence; and (3) the evidence at trial was insufficient to support his conviction for grand larceny. We affirm the judgments of conviction.

While inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Institution, Edwards and Julius Jones escaped from the prison farm. Edwards and Jones made their escape in a station wagon taken from a supervisor at the farm. Two days later, the station wagon was involved in an automobile accident in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The driver and passenger in the front seat and two hitchhikers in the back seat of the station wagon fled the accident scene on foot. Approximately an hour after the accident, Halsey Brant was robbed at gunpoint by two men in a motel near the accident scene. Brant had just entered his motel room, placed his

Page 908

[109 Idaho 503] belongings on the bed, and was returning to shut the door. The door to his room had closed but had not latched shut. On his way back to the door, he heard someone knocking at the room next to his. He peered out through the open door and observed two men with drawn pistols. They saw him and immediately one of the gunmen forced him back into the room. Brant walked backwards facing the two men as they entered the room and closed the door. Brant was ordered to lie face down in the corner of the room. The first gunman who entered the room inquired whether Brant had a car and how much gas was in it. The second man emptied the contents of a steel file box onto the bed. Brant was then bound and gagged. The gunmen took cash, blank checks, credit cards, a set of keys, and then fled in Brant's delivery van. On the following morning Montana police officers stopped the stolen van and arrested the occupants, Edwards and Jones. Approximately two weeks later at the preliminary hearing, Brant identified the two escapees as the men who had robbed him.

Before trial, Edwards moved to suppress evidence of Brant's identification at the preliminary hearing. He also moved to dismiss the charges, contending the state had failed to preserve evidence which he claimed would have exculpated him. Edwards claimed that an examination of the steel file box, a zippered bank pouch, and a tape recorded statement given by Brant on the night of the robbery would have proven that Edwards did not participate in the robbery. The steel box had been dusted for fingerprints by the police upon investigation of the robbery. The box was released to Brant when the police determined there were no identifiable prints on the box. The bank pouch was not dusted because the police concluded that fingerprints could not be obtained from the rough surface of the pouch. The taped interview was erased or destroyed, but a transcript of the tape disclosed that Brant "didn't really see [the other man with Jones]." Edwards presented evidence at trial that another person had been with Jones when Brant was robbed. The district court denied pretrial motions to suppress and to dismiss as well as a post-trial motion for a new trial.


On appeal, Edwards continues to assert that the district court should have suppressed the identification testimony of Brant at trial. He contends that Brant's identification of Edwards at the preliminary hearing occurred in an overly suggestive and unfair manner which violated Edwards' right to due process. U.S. CONST. amend. XIV; IDAHO CONST. art. I, § 13. See State v. Sadler, 95 Idaho 524, 511 P.2d 806 (1973). Edwards suggests that his identification at trial was tainted by the suggestive confrontation at the preliminary hearing. At the preliminary hearing, Brant was afforded an opportunity to observe the bailiff or sheriff bring Edwards and Jones into the courtroom. They were wearing blue coveralls but whether they were handcuffed together was disputed at trial. There was no corporeal or photographic lineup conducted prior to the preliminary hearing. At trial, Brant identified Edwards as one of his assailants without any reference to the previous identification at the preliminary hearing.

The task for a court reviewing a claim of eyewitness identification under suggestive conditions is to determine whether, under the totality of the circumstances, the "identification procedure was so impermissibly suggestive as to give rise to a very substantial likelihood of irreparable misidentification." Simmons v. United States, 390 U.S. 377, 384, 88 S.Ct. 967, 971, 19 L.Ed.2d 1247 (1968). See Manson v. Brathwaite, 432 U.S. 98, 97 S.Ct. 2243, 53 L.Ed.2d 140 (1977); Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. 188, 93 S.Ct. 375, 34 L.Ed.2d 401 (1972); Stovall v. Denno, 388 U.S. 293, 87 S.Ct. 1967, 18 L.Ed.2d 1199 (1967). The interest sought to be protected by the fairness standard of the due process clause is an evidentiary interest. Manson, 432 U.S. at 113 & n. 14, 97 S.Ct. at 2252 n. 14. Under standards adopted by our Supreme

Page 909

[109 Idaho 504] Court, there is not a very substantial likelihood of misidentification so "long as 'the identification possesses sufficient aspects of reliability .... [R]eliability is the linchpin in determining the admissibility of identification testimony.' " State v. Hoisington, 104 Idaho 153, 161, 657 P.2d 17, 25 (1983), quoting State v. Crawford, 99 Idaho 87, 103, 577 P.2d 1135, 1151 (1978) and Manson, 432 U.S. at 114, 97 S.Ct. at 2253. See State v. Kay, 108 Idaho 661, 701 P.2d 281 (Ct.App.1985); State v. Matthews, 108 Idaho 482, 700 P.2d 104 (Ct.App.1985). The test for reliability applies to both in-court and out-of-court identifications. Hoisington, 104 Idaho at 162, 657 P.2d at 26.

At the outset, we note that single-subject showups are inherently suspect and generally not condoned. Id. However, this case does not necessarily present the suggestive conditions of a lineup or a showup. Unlike the showup situation where the witness confronts the accused shortly after the incident while in the custody of police, the identification in issue here occurred in court where Edwards was represented by counsel and under the impartial eye of the presiding judge. Commonwealth v. Steffy, 264 Pa.Super. 110, 399 A.2d 690 (1979); Holmes v. State, 10 Md.App. 253, 269 A.2d 175 (1970). Further, the state did not seek to admit nor did it allude to the prior identification when Brant identified Edwards at trial. Brant was subject to cross-examination and impeachment at trial and at the preliminary hearing. Even so, the following factors are to be considered when determining the reliability of Brant's eyewitness identification at the preliminary hearing or at trial:

(1) the opportunity of the witness to view the criminal at the time of the crime, (2) the witness's degree of attention, (3) the accuracy of his prior description of the criminal, (4) the level of certainty demonstrated at the identification, and (5) the length of time between the crime and the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
8 cases
  • State v. Kysar, 17220
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • November 21, 1989
    ...Brathwaite, 432 U.S. 98, 97 S.Ct. 2243, 53 L.Ed.2d 140 (1977); State v. Hoisington, 104 Idaho 153, 657 P.2d 17 (1983); State v. Edwards, 109 Idaho 501, 708 P.2d 906 Kysar's primary complaint is that the "show up" identification was unreliable because it was conducted in a suggestive manner ......
  • State v. Bryant, 21176
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Idaho
    • May 11, 1995
    ...484, 486 (Ct.App.1985). The record does not indicate any calculated police action to suppress exculpatory evidence, see State v. Edwards, 109 Idaho 501, 506, 708 P.2d 906, 911 (Ct.App.1985), or to deny Bryant the opportunity to request that fingerprint tests be done on the gun. Having found......
  • People v. Lee, 1-89-2803
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • November 19, 1991
    ...95 Ill.App.3d 722, 51 Ill.Dec. 226, 420 N.E.2d 640 (victim locked in another room when cash box was taken); State v. Edwards (App.1985), 109 Idaho 501, 708 P.2d 906 (keys to a van taken at gunpoint in a motel room implicated defendant in the theft of the vehicle); Lancaster v. State (Okla.C......
  • State v. Hyde, 21010
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Idaho
    • June 8, 1995
    ...19 L.Ed.2d 1247 (1968). See also Stovall v. Denno, 388 U.S. 293, 302, 87 S.Ct. 1967, 1972, 18 L.Ed.2d 1199 (1967); State v. Edwards, 109 Idaho 501, 708 P.2d 906 It has been held that where the photographs had no distinguishing marks, a five-photo lineup was not procedurally suggestive. Stat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT