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State of Idaho v. Jim Howard

January 18, 2011

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JIM HOWARD, III, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. John Thomas Mitchell, District Judge.

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

Boise, November 2010 Term

2011 Opinion No. 5

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

District court decision dismissing DUI enhancement, affirmed.

After a jury found Respondent Jim Howard (Howard) guilty of misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI), Howard proceeded to a bench trial on a felony enhancement charge for allegedly having two prior DUI convictions within ten years. The State submitted two copies of judgments of prior conviction for DUI. While the district court found the judgments admissible under the Idaho Rules of Evidence, it found that one of the judgments was not entitled "full faith and credit," as the judgment did not satisfy I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738 and, therefore, found Howard not guilty of the enhancement. The State appealed, arguing that the district court erroneously required compliance with I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738 and that the judgment sufficed to prove the enhancement because it satisfied the relevant authentication requirements of the I.R.E. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal as barred by double jeopardy. The case comes to this Court on a petition for review. We hold that a judgment of conviction need only comply with the I.R.E. in order to be admitted to prove an enhancement. However, we hold that Howard cannot be convicted of the felony DUI enhancement, as obtaining such a conviction requires retrying Howard in violation of the prohibition against double jeopardy. Therefore, we affirm.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Howard was charged with driving under the influence and driving without privileges. The State sought to enhance the misdemeanor DUI charge to a felony DUI charge pursuant to I.C. § 18-8005(5),*fn1 alleging that Howard had two prior DUI convictions within the last ten years. The State also sought to enhance Howard's sentence for being a persistent violator, alleging that Howard had committed two prior felony offenses. Howard pled guilty to the charge of driving without privileges and proceeded to trial on the DUI charge. In the first trial, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the DUI charge. The second trial was bifurcated. On July 8, 2008, the jury found Howard guilty of DUI. Howard waived his right to a jury trial on the enhancement charges and proceeded to a bench trial.

At the bench trial, held on July 9, 2008, the State offered as evidence the judgments of Howard's DUI convictions from Kern County, California (the "California Judgment"), entered on December 4, 2004, and from Kootenai County, Idaho, entered on December 10, 2003, to prove the felony DUI enhancement. After Howard objected that the prior convictions were not properly before the court, the State requested and was granted a continuance. When the trial resumed on July 15, 2008, the State again offered the two judgments, this time with different supporting documentation. To prove the prior DUI conviction from California, the State offered a copy of the California Judgment together with a seal and an attestation by the clerk of that court. Howard objected, arguing that the California Judgment did not comply with 28 U.S.C. § 1738*fn2 or I.C. § 9-312.*fn3 The State acknowledged that it did not provide a certificate of a judge for the California Judgment, as required by I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738. However, the State argued that the California Judgment need only be admissible under the I.R.E. in order to be admitted and proved for purposes of the charged crime.

On July 15, 2008, the district court ordered simultaneous briefing on the issue of whether I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738 apply to the California Judgment. Howard and the State submitted briefs in support of their positions. Ultimately, the district court stated that it was admitting both judgments into evidence under I.R.E. 902(4)*fn4 as self-authenticating official records but concluded: "This Court cannot give the [California Judgment] full faith and credit as the requirements of I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738 were not met. Under the Full Faith and Credit analysis, Howard is NOT GUILTY [of the felony DUI enhancement]."

The State timely appealed. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal, holding that double jeopardy barred Howard's retrial on the felony DUI charge and that the appeal was moot. The case comes to this Court on a petition for review.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

As we wrote in Humberger v. Humberger:

In cases that come before this Court on a petition for review of a Court of Appeals decision, this Court gives serious consideration to the views of the Court of Appeals, but directly reviews the decisions of the trial court. This Court will not set aside the trial court's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous. As to questions of law, this Court exercises free review. 134 Idaho 39, 41, 995 P.2d 809, 811 (2000) (internal citations omitted).

III. ANALYSIS

The State contends that a prior judgment introduced to prove a DUI enhancement can be admitted into evidence and proved by satisfying the relevant I.R.E. provisions and does not also need to comply with I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738. The State argues that it met its burden by producing certified copies of Howard's two judgments of convictions for DUI that satisfy the authentication requirements of I.R.E. 902(4), and the district court erred in requiring that the California Judgment comply with I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738. The State asks this Court to vacate the district court's order finding Howard not guilty of the enhancement and remand for resentencing. Howard argues this Court should dismiss the State's appeal, because the appeal: (1) violates the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment; (2) is specifically prohibited by I.A.R. 11(c)(4); and (3) is moot.

A. The district court erred in requiring the State to prove that the California Judgment satisfied I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738.

We first address which provisions govern the admission and proof of prior judgments of conviction in enhancement cases. See State v. Lewis, 96 Idaho 743, 536 P.2d 738 (1975) (considering State's appeal and finding that the lower court's dismissal was erroneous, even though ultimately holding double jeopardy prohibited retrying Defendant). This is an issue of first impression in this Court and is an issue that is likely to arise again. The legislature has determined that repeat DUI offenders and repeat felony offenders should be subjected to enhanced penalties. The State frequently charges enhancements and, thus, frequently submits prior judgments of conviction to prove enhancement charges, but this Court has not ruled on whether I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738 apply to the foundational or authentication requirements for the admission of those prior judgments.

To prove the felony DUI enhancement, the State put forth copies of judgments of conviction indicating Howard had been convicted of two DUIs within the past ten years. The district court stated that it was admitting both judgments into evidence, finding that they satisfied the self-authentication requirements of I.R.E. 902(4) and 902(2). However, upon concluding that the California Judgment did not comply with I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738, the district court acquitted Howard of the felony DUI enhancement. The district court explained: "If admissibility under the Idaho Rules of Evidence were the end of the inquiry, Howard would be guilty of [the felony DUI enhancement], due to the admission of [the two judgments of conviction]. However, that is not the end of the inquiry . . . ." The district court went on to say that "[c]compliance with both Idaho Code § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738 is mandatory. State v. Prince [64 Idaho 343, 132 P.2d 146 (1942)] tells us that."

The State does not challenge the district court's finding that the California Judgment fails to satisfy I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738. The copy of the California Judgment submitted by the State was not accompanied by a certificate from a judge, as required of foreign judgments by both I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738. Rather, the State argues that if a judgment of prior conviction satisfies the I.R.E., it need not also comply with I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738 in order to be admitted and proved.

1. The State did not waive this issue.

It is well settled that an issue not raised before the trial court cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. See State v. Martin, 119 Idaho 577, 579, 808 P.2d 1322, 1324 (1991). Howard argues that the State cannot raise this issue on appeal, because the State failed to argue why I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738 should not apply, even though it had three opportunities to do so in front of the district court. Howard relies on the statement by the district court that while the State argued that it did not have to comply with I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738, it failed to "tell this court 'why' it has this interpretation."

When Howard objected to the State's admission of the California Judgment at trial, the State responded by arguing that compliance with the I.R.E. was sufficient. After trial, the State submitted a memorandum in support of admissibility of the California Judgment. The district court ordered simultaneous briefing on the issue of whether I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738 apply to the California Judgment, and the State submitted such a brief, arguing that the prior judgments need only be admissible under the I.R.E. The district court devoted the longest section of its Memorandum Decision and Order to analyzing whether I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738 applied to the California Judgment. The district court had the opportunity to, and did, consider the issue. We find that the State argued this issue before the district court and may properly raise it on appeal.

2. If a judgment of prior conviction is admissible under the I.R.E., it does not also need to satisfy I.C. § 9-312 or 28 U.S.C. § 1738.

The interpretation of a statute is a legal question over which this Court exercises free review. State v. Yzaguirre, 144 Idaho 471, 474, 163 P.3d 1183, 1186 (2007). The district court relied on State v. Prince, 64 Idaho 343, 132 P.2d 146 (1942), as precedent showing that a judgment of prior conviction submitted to prove an enhancement must comply with the I.R.E., I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738. The relevant issue in Prince was whether the State had to prove that the Oregon courts, which rendered the two judgments of prior conviction submitted to prove a persistent violator enhancement, had jurisdiction to render the judgments. Prince, 64 Idaho at 344, 132 P.2d at 147. Upon finding that the judgments submitted by the State in Prince satisfied the then-existing equivalents of I.C. § 9-312 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738,*fn5 we ...


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