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State v. Schultz

August 5, 2010

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
CHRISTOPHER R. SCHULTZ, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Cassia County. Hon. Michael R. Crabtree, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Perry, Judge Pro Tem

2010 Opinion No. 54

Order of the district court denying motion to withdraw guilty pleas, affirmed.

Christopher R. Schultz pleaded guilty to robbery and attempted rape with a sentence enhancement for use of a deadly weapon. The district court denied Schultz's post-sentencing motion to withdraw his guilty pleas, brought on the theory that the state had breached a plea agreement with regard to its sentencing recommendations. We affirm.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

This is the second time this case has come before this Court. While at his estranged wife's residence in violation of a no-contact order, then seventeen-year-old Schultz told a friend of his plan to invade the home of a woman who lived in the apartment below in order to rape and kill her. Armed with a knife and wearing a self-fashioned mask and gloves, he waited until the victim's husband left and then forced his way into the apartment. Once inside, he held the knife to the victim's throat and demanded money. He also demanded that she show him her breasts.

The victim distracted Schultz by throwing her purse at him, fled the apartment, and called the police. Schultz also fled, taking the victim's purse with him. Schultz was arrested a short time later.

The state filed a petition under the Juvenile Corrections Act charging Schultz with four felonies: battery with the intent to commit a serious felony (rape), burglary, robbery, and attempted rape. Four sentence enhancements were alleged for using a deadly weapon in the commission of those crimes. Seeking to prosecute Shultz as an adult, along with the petition, the prosecution filed a motion to waive juvenile jurisdiction.*fn1 At the waiver hearing proceeding before a magistrate judge, defense counsel stated:

[I]n talking with Christopher [Schultz] and previously talking with [prosecutor] Mr. Schneider, Mr. Schneider agreed that upon waiver [to adult court] and if Christopher ultimately ends up entering a guilty plea to at least some of the charges, the State would make a recommendation to the district court judge of a sentence not to exceed--and certainly it could be less than this depending on negotiations, but not to exceed a five-year minimum and a 20 year top on the sentence.

Certainly, without admitting any of the facts or the allegations in this matter, but after reviewing the report with Christopher, he is prepared to waive his rights as a juvenile and proceed into adult court. He realizes his situation is such that certainly it's very likely that he would be waived, and, therefore, he's willing to waive into the adult system, your Honor.

The deputy prosecutor did not respond to defense counsel's statement. After considering the factors enumerated in Idaho Code Section 20-508(8), in addition to Schultz's stipulation, the magistrate found that waiver of juvenile jurisdiction was warranted and entered an order to that effect. The matter then proceeded in accord with an adult criminal prosecution. Specifically, the prosecution filed a complaint in magistrate court, Schultz made an initial appearance before a magistrate, and a magistrate conducted a preliminary hearing. After Schultz was bound over to district court, he pleaded not guilty at the arraignment and a trial date was set. As per the practice of the respective offices, the prosecutor and the defense counsel that attended the juvenile proceeding no longer handled the case; instead, a different felony prosecutor and defense counsel were assigned.

On the day the jury trial was set to commence, a plea agreement was placed on the record before the district court. The agreement called for Schultz to enter a guilty plea to the robbery charge, an Alford*fn2 guilty plea to the attempted rape charge, and to plead guilty to the deadly weapon enhancement attendant to the attempted rape charge, with the remaining charges to be dismissed. The agreement further provided that the prosecution would recommend twenty-year fixed sentences, that it could recommend up to the maximum indeterminate sentences on both charges, and that the defense was free to recommend any sentence thought appropriate. When questioned by the trial court, Schultz indicated that this was his understanding of the plea agreement.

At sentencing, the prosecution recommended a unified life sentence, with twenty years fixed, for robbery and a concurrent unified thirty-year sentence, with twenty years fixed, for attempted rape with the weapon enhancement. The defense asked for significantly lesser sentences and requested retained jurisdiction. The district court imposed a unified life sentence, with fifteen years fixed, for robbery and a concurrent unified thirty-year sentence, with fifteen years fixed, for attempted rape with the weapon enhancement.

Schultz appealed from the judgment of conviction and the case was assigned to this Court. On appeal, Schultz raised an issue that had not been preserved by objection below. He argued that fundamental error occurred because the "plea agreement" outlined by defense counsel at the juvenile waiver hearing was final and binding on the state and that the state's ultimate sentencing recommendation breached its terms. This Court, deeming the record inadequate to resolve the issue, declined to decide which of the two plea agreements controlled. State v. Schultz, Docket No. 33000 (Ct. App. May 13, 2008) (unpublished). We also specifically noted that Schultz could pursue ...


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