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State v. Ball

September 1, 2010

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JEFFERY A. BALL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Fred M. Gibler, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gratton, Judge

2010 Opinion No. 60

Judgment of conviction and unified sentence of twenty years, with a minimum period of confinement of seven years for rape, affirmed.

Jeffery A. Ball appeals from his judgment of conviction and sentence entered upon his guilty plea to the charge of rape, Idaho Code § 18-6101. We affirm.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On March 13, 2008, Ball, who was forty-three years old at the time, was charged by information with raping S.A.T., a sixteen-year-old female. Ball was arraigned on April 14, 2008, and his attorney indicated that Ball and the State had entered into a plea agreement. Pursuant to an Idaho Criminal Rule 11(f) binding plea agreement, Ball agreed to plead guilty, and the State agreed to dismiss another case against Ball for possession of a firearm. The parties agreed to a maximum ten-year sentence, leaving to the district court's discretion the determinate portion of the sentence. Additionally, Ball agreed to waive his Fifth Amendment rights and participate in a psychosexual evaluation and polygraph, and the State agreed not to charge Ball with any matters arising from those evaluations. The State further agreed not to file additional charges with respect to any evidence obtained pursuant to the search warrant. The court inquired as to whether the agreement would be reduced to writing, and defense counsel indicated that she would submit the proposed Rule 11 plea agreement prior to sentencing.*fn1 Thereafter, the court summarized the terms of the agreement presented by defense counsel, discussed some of the terms with counsel and Ball, engaged Ball in a plea colloquy, and ultimately accepted Ball's guilty plea.

At the outset of the sentencing hearing, the district court informed Ball that it had reviewed the plea agreement, the presentence report, and several other documents, including the psychosexual evaluation and "related documents." The court indicated that it was not prepared to "go along" with the plea agreement, and rejected it. The court then inquired of Ball as to whether he wished to proceed with sentencing or withdraw his guilty plea. Ball ultimately chose to go forward with the sentencing, and the court sentenced him to a unified term of twenty years, with seven years determinate. Ball appeals, primarily challenging the district court's decision not to accept and be bound by the plea agreement.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Plea Agreement

Ball claims that the district court abused its discretion by refusing to be bound by the Rule 11 plea agreement at sentencing. Specifically, Ball contends that he was required by the plea agreement to waive his Fifth Amendment rights and submit to the psychosexual evaluation and polygraph evaluation ("the evaluations"). The evaluations were presented to the district court prior to its refusal to be bound by the plea agreement. Under that circumstance, he argues that the district court should not be allowed to refuse to be bound by the plea agreement because the court would retain the benefit of the evaluations, obtained under the plea agreement, yet reject the plea agreement. Ball asserts that simply allowing withdrawal of the guilty plea, at that point, is an inadequate remedy. He concludes that either the district court must be bound by the plea agreement or, at a minimum, allow the evaluations to be withdrawn and the case reassigned to a different judge for sentencing. Ball also claims that in accepting his guilty plea, the court bound itself to the plea agreement as it did not specifically state that it was deferring its decision until it had an opportunity to review the evaluations.

Ball does not provide any direct authority for the position which he urges this Court to adopt. He does not claim a violation of his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Nor does he assert that the district court violated I.C.R. 11. In fact, Ball acknowledges that the court complied with I.C.R. 11(f)(4) when it rejected the plea agreement by affording him the opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea, although he chose not to avail himself of that opportunity. At bottom, Ball argues that because he participated in the evaluations as part of the plea agreement, the court was required to accept the agreement as the opportunity to withdraw his plea was not a "sufficient remedy."

Idaho Criminal Rule 11(f) sets forth the procedure to be applied in the context of plea agreements. Idaho Criminal Rule 11(f)(1) provides, in relevant part:

The prosecuting attorney and the attorney for the defendant or the defendant... may engage in discussions with a view toward reaching an agreement, which may include... that upon the entering of a plea of guilty to a charged ...


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