State v. Scroggie, s. 13790
|Court of Appeals of Idaho
|714 P.2d 72,110 Idaho 103
|15754,Nos. 13790,s. 13790
|STATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Jesse E. SCROGGIE, Defendant-Appellant. Jesse Earl SCROGGIE, Petitioner-Appellant, v. STATE of Idaho, Respondent.
|30 January 1986
Fred R. Palmer, Sandpoint, for defendant-appellant.
Jim Jones, Atty. Gen., Lynn E. Thomas, Sol. Gen., Boise, for plaintiff-respondent.
In these consolidated appeals, Jesse Scroggie asks us to review a jury conviction for second degree murder and an order dismissing his application for post-conviction relief. Scroggie's appeal from the judgment of conviction was stayed while he petitioned for relief under the Uniform Post-Conviction Procedure Act. The application for post-conviction relief was summarily dismissed. On this consolidated appeal, Scroggie makes several contentions which may be summarized as follows: (1) the trial court committed fundamental error by permitting the defendant to be convicted without submitting the mental illness defense to the jury; (2) Scroggie was denied effective assistance of counsel when counsel failed to present the affirmative defense of mental illness and committed other deficiencies; (3) the trial court committed reversible error by failing to provide the jury with an instruction on the lesser crime of involuntary manslaughter; (4) the trial court improperly admitted hearsay evidence which prejudiced Scroggie's right to a fair trial; (5) the trial court abused its sentencing discretion; and (6) the district court erroneously dismissed the application for post-conviction relief. We hold that reversible error occurred in Scroggie's trial when the defense of mental illness was not submitted to the jury. We therefore reverse the judgment of conviction, hold the district court erred in dismissing Scroggie's application for post-conviction relief, and we remand for a new trial.
Except as noted, Scroggie provided the following account of events leading to his shooting of A.W. Barron, the victim. After twenty-three years of marriage, Eileen Scroggie filed for divorce in September 1979. Eileen left the family residence in Bonners Ferry, Idaho and rented an apartment in Sandpoint, approximately thirty-six miles from Bonners Ferry.
Scroggie, who operated a combination used car lot, bar and retail gasoline sales enterprise, opened his business in Bonners Ferry the morning of November 13, 1979. With the exception of breaks for meals, he worked as bartender and drank beer during the day and evening. Before noon Scroggie received the first in a series of phone calls from Barron. Scroggie stated that, in this first call, Barron inquired if Scroggie had followed Eileen home earlier that morning. Scroggie testified that Barron then stated "I will find out if I have to choke it out of the bitch." Barron called again during the early evening and asked Scroggie whether he (Scroggie) had put a "hickey" on Eileen's neck. Scroggie further related that Barron then stated "he'd kill the guy that did it." Scroggie testified that he received yet another phone call from Barron that evening in which Barron stated, "The old lady has been raped and she is bad." Eileen then came on the line and Scroggie asked her in Portuguese whether there was "danger in the house." Her reply implied that she was not in danger but the conversation ended abruptly.
After closing his bar around midnight, Scroggie returned home and called Eileen in Sandpoint. Scroggie believed that Eileen was under the hypnotic control or spell of Barron. He testified he wanted to ascertain whether she needed any help. Her response was in the negative. Still not convinced that Eileen was safe, Scroggie called Rose Zieja (Scroggie's neighbor) and asked her to call Eileen. Although reluctant, Rose did call Eileen. Rose testified at trial that she was surprised when a man answered Eileen's telephone. Rose spoke to Eileen and inquired whether Eileen was safe. Again Eileen indicated that she was safe. Rose then called Scroggie and related that Eileen had said that she was "all right." Scroggie then asked Rose to drive to Sandpoint and bring Eileen back to Bonners Ferry. Rose refused and insinuated that Eileen was an adult and her apparent involvement with a man at this hour of the night was Eileen's own business. Rose essentially told Scroggie that he should leave well enough alone.
Undeterred, Scroggie then woke up his two sons, Steve and Paul (seventeen and eighteen years old respectively) and asked them to drive to Sandpoint to retrieve their mother. The boys indicated that they did not want to go alone so Scroggie agreed to accompany them. Scroggie and his sons stopped at the bar to fill a car with gasoline for the trip to Sandpoint. After filling the car with gas, Scroggie reentered the bar to turn off the gasoline pump. While in the bar, he obtained approximately $300 in cash and a .357 revolver. He placed the revolver and the money in his jacket pocket. He testified he took the money with him in case Eileen needed to be admitted to a hospital. At about 2:30 in the morning of November 14, Scroggie and his sons started to Sandpoint. Scroggie slept in the back seat of the car while Paul drove to Eileen's apartment.
Once they arrived, the boys testified that they went to Eileen's front door and knocked. Scroggie meanwhile went to a back patio sliding door. A neighbor in the adjoining apartment observed Scroggie peer into his window. Scroggie entered through the sliding glass door. He testified that Barron was seated at the kitchen table. Scroggie said he noticed Eileen's face appeared to have been beaten and her nose was bleeding. She went into the adjoining living room to talk to her son. According to Scroggie, Barron then pushed the kitchen table away with his left hand, yelled "Jesse", and pointed a gun at Scroggie. Scroggie said he turned, pulled his revolver from his pocket, and shot Barron two or three times. After the shooting, Scroggie and his sons departed for Bonners Ferry with Paul driving. During the trip back, Scroggie asked Paul to stop the car. Scroggie got out of the car and threw his gun away. He then got back into the vehicle and the three returned to Bonners Ferry. The gun was not recovered.
Scroggie and his boys were arrested in Bonners Ferry as they pulled into their driveway. While handcuffed in the front passenger seat of the patrol car returning to Sandpoint, Scroggie opened the front door and attempted to jump from the vehicle while it was traveling approximately seventy miles per hour. The officer who was transporting Scroggie testified he told Scroggie that he would have shot Scroggie if he had jumped from the car. According to the officer, Scroggie responded by saying "that's what I wanted you to do."
At trial, Scroggie argued that he had acted either in self defense or in defense of others (i.e., Eileen). To support its theory of first degree murder, the state presented evidence that there were a total of seven bullets fired by Scroggie, although Scroggie testified he did not remember firing seven bullets. The state postulated that Scroggie would have had to reload his six-shot revolver to shoot the seventh bullet. After being granted transactional immunity, the boys testified that they did not see the shooting. Eileen declined to testify after invoking the marital privilege of refusing to testify against a spouse. I.C. § 19-3002. The jury was instructed that it could find Scroggie not guilty, guilty of first degree murder, guilty of second degree murder, or guilty of voluntary manslaughter. The jury found Scroggie guilty of second degree murder.
Scroggie was sentenced to an indeterminate term of thirty-five years for the murder plus a consecutive, indeterminate term not to exceed fifteen years for the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime, I.C. § 19-2520. 1 Scroggie's trial counsel 2 filed a notice of appeal. Scroggie also filed an application for post-conviction relief. This application was assigned to Judge Magnuson for disposition. The application relied on seven major issues to support post-conviction relief. 3 Scroggie moved for summary judgment on his application for post-conviction relief and the state countered with a motion for summary dismissal of the application. Judge Magnuson denied Scroggie's motion for summary judgment and granted the state's motion for dismissal. As noted, Scroggie's appeal of the denial of his post-conviction relief application has been consolidated with his direct appeal from his conviction.
Scroggie asserts that his conviction of second degree murder without the jury being able to consider his affirmative defense of mental illness was a fundamental error that requires reversal. This assertion serves as the foundation for several related claims. First, the trial court, prosecuting attorney, and defense counsel erroneously advised the psychiatrist on the legal standards necessary to invoke the affirmative defense. Based on this advice, the psychiatrist testified at trial that Scroggie's mental state did not rise to the level necessary to avail oneself of the affirmative defense. Second, the trial court did not instruct the jury on the affirmative defense of mental illness. Finally, Scroggie contends his right of effective assistance of counsel was denied by trial counsel's failure to properly interpret I.C. § 18-207, to present evidence in support of the affirmative defense, and to request a jury instruction on the mental illness defense. 4
The state refers to this issue as a "diminished capacity defense" 5 and insists no error occurred for two reasons. First, the state asserts that this issue was not preserved for appeal because of a "procedural default." Second, even if Scroggie's mental illness defense was preserved for review, the state contends that "diminished capacity" is not recognized as a mental illness defense in Idaho. We will discuss each of these threshold...
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