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State of Idaho v. Luis James Pierce

October 13, 2010

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
LUIS JAMES PIERCE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Michael E. Wetherell, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Horton, Justice

2010 Opinion No. 109

Stephen Kenyon, Clerk

The decision of the district court is affirmed.

Luis Pierce (Pierce) appeals the district court‟s order revoking probation and ordering him to serve his previously suspended sentence. We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On the evening of March 6, 2006, Luis Pierce pulled down the underwear of a four-year-old girl, M.B., to look at her genital area for his sexual gratification. He was arrested later that same night. The following day, the State filed a complaint charging Pierce with sexual abuse of a child under sixteen years of age (sexual abuse), a violation of I.C. § 18-1506. At his initial appearance, a preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 20, 2006. On the day of the scheduled hearing, the prosecuting attorney moved to dismiss the complaint because the complaint failed to assert that Pierce was eighteen years of age or older, an element required by

I.C. § 18-1506. The motion was granted. The following day, the State filed a new complaint charging Pierce with sexual abuse, this time including the allegation that Pierce was over eighteen at the time of the crime.

On April 4, 2006, following a preliminary hearing, Pierce was held to answer to the district court for the charge of sexual abuse. On April 5, 2006, the prosecutor filed an information*fn1 charging Pierce with sexual abuse. On August 1, 2006, Pierce pleaded guilty to the charged offense. A sentencing hearing was held on October 25, 2006, and the district court sentenced Pierce to a term of fifteen years, with five years fixed, and retained jurisdiction.

On April 5, 2007, the district court exercised jurisdiction and placed Pierce on probation for a term of fourteen years. Seven months later, the State filed a motion for probation violation. Pierce admitted to violating his probation and on February 8, 2008, the district court revoked his probation and ordered execution of the previously suspended sentence. Pierce timely appealed.

Pierce asserts two issues on appeal. First, Pierce claims for the first time on appeal that his judgment must be vacated because the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. This argument is based upon the provision of Article I, § 8 of the Idaho Constitution*fn2 that "after a charge has been ignored by a grand jury, no person shall be held to answer, or for trial therefor, upon information of public prosecutor." Second, Pierce claims the district court abused its discretion by revoking his probation and ordering his original sentence into execution.

ISSUES ON APPEAL

1. Whether Pierce‟s conviction must be vacated for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

2. Whether the district court abused its discretion by revoking Pierceā€Ÿs probation and requiring him to serve ...


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