State v. Haggard, 083019 IDCCR, 45592
|Opinion Judge:||LORELLO, JUDGE|
|Party Name:||STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. CLINTON HAGGARD, Defendant-Appellant.|
|Attorney:||Trevor L. Castleton, Bingham County Public Defender, Idaho Falls, for appellant. Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; John C. McKinney, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.|
|Judge Panel:||Chief Judge GRATTON and Judge HUSKEY, CONCUR.|
|Case Date:||August 30, 2019|
|Court:||Court of Appeals of Idaho|
Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bingham County. Hon. Darren B. Simpson, District Judge. Hon. James H. Barrett, Magistrate.
Decision of the district court, on intermediate appeal from the magistrate, affirming judgment of conviction for misdemeanor domestic battery, reversed and case remanded.
Trevor L. Castleton, Bingham County Public Defender, Idaho Falls, for appellant.
Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; John C. McKinney, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
Clinton Haggard appeals from the decision of the district court, on intermediate appeal from the magistrate, affirming Haggard's judgment of conviction for misdemeanor domestic battery, which the magistrate entered following a court trial. Haggard contends that his written waiver of the right to a jury trial was constitutionally defective because the magistrate did not inquire into the validity of the waiver prior to proceeding to a court trial. This argument was raised for the first time on appeal to the district court. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse the decision of the district court and remand for further proceedings.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The State charged Haggard with misdemeanor domestic battery. I.C. § 18-918(3)(b). While in custody at the jail, Haggard initialed and signed a notification of rights form, which included the following language: [Paragraph] 4. Should you plead "not guilty", you have the right to a trial before the Court or a jury of six (6) jurors drawn from the Court Jury Panel. You may bring witnesses or evidence to the trial on your behalf and you will have the opportunity to confront and cross-examine witnesses testifying against you.
On the same day, Haggard appeared before the magistrate for arraignment and the magistrate advised Haggard of his rights. Haggard pled not guilty and requested the appointment of a public defender to represent him. Haggard also signed and dated a statement of rights for domestic assault or battery cases, which included the following provisions: 3. You have the right to a jury trial and to compel the attendance of witnesses on your behalf without expense to you.
. . . .
4. NOT GUILTY PLEA. If you plead NOT GUILTY, the court will ask you whether you wish to have a trial before a jury or a trial before a judge only, and will set a trial date.
. . . .
10. I HAVE READ THIS DOCUMENT OR HAD IT EXPLAINED TO ME AND HAVE RECEIVED A COPY.
At the pretrial conference held approximately one month later, Haggard, his counsel and the prosecuting attorney signed a pretrial stipulation and order, which was filed with the court. The stipulation included an option for a court trial and an option for a jury trial. The option for court trial was checked. That option reads: "COURT TRIAL is set for 7 day of Sept., 2016 at 1:15 P.M. And the right to have this matter heard by jury trial is waived by both parties." Although the stipulation and order also included a signature line for a magistrate, a magistrate did not sign the document.1 A court trial was held on the scheduled date at which the magistrate found Haggard guilty. The magistrate subsequently entered Haggard's judgment of conviction.
Haggard appealed to the district court. In his notice of appeal, trial counsel (who represents Haggard on this appeal; who represented Haggard at the arraignment, court trial, and sentencing; and who signed the stipulation and order waiving the jury trial) stated the issue on appeal as: "It is reversible error for the conviction to have been entered against [Haggard] when he did not waive his right to a jury trial in front of the presiding magistrate judge as required by applicable Idaho law."
On intermediate appeal, the district court entered an order indicating that the appeal would be decided on the clerk's record, the parties' briefs and oral argument, without preparation of a transcript of any of the trial proceedings. Haggard challenged the validity of his written jury trial waiver on the basis that the magistrate failed to inquire about the waiver in open court. The district court entered a written decision dismissing Haggard's appeal and affirming the judgment of conviction, concluding that Haggard's written waiver was adequate to waive his right to a jury trial. Haggard appealed to this Court.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Generally, issues not raised below may not be considered for the first time on appeal. State v. Fodge, 121 Idaho 192, 195, 824 P.2d 123, 126 (1992). Idaho decisional law, however, has long allowed appellate courts to consider a claim of error to which no objection was made below if the issue presented rises to the level of fundamental error. See State v. Field, 144 Idaho 559, 571, 165 P.3d 273, 285 (2007). In State v. Perry, 150 Idaho 209, 245 P.3d 961 (2010), the Idaho Supreme Court held that an appellate court should reverse an unobjected-to error when the defendant persuades the court that the alleged error: (1) violates one or more of the defendant's unwaived constitutional rights; (2) is clear or obvious without the need for reference to any additional information not contained in the appellate record; and (3) affected the outcome of the trial proceedings. Id. at 226, 245 P.3d at 978.
Because this is an appeal from the district court, sitting in its appellate capacity over a case from the magistrate division, we are procedurally bound to affirm or reverse the decision of the district court...
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