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State of Idaho v. John Albert Hardwick

March 17, 2011

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JOHN ALBERT HARDWICK,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, in and for Ada County. The Hon. Timothy L. Hansen, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eismann, Chief Justice.

2011 Opinion No. 31

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

The order of the district court is affirmed.

Defendant's motion for the withdrawal of his guilty plea and dismissal of his case was denied based on legislation enacted after he had committed his crime. He appealed, alleging that such legislation constituted an ex post facto law in violation of the State and Federal Constitutions. We hold that the legislation was not punitive and affirm the district court.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On June 15, 2004, John Albert Hardwick (Defendant) committed the crime of enticing children over the internet, a felony in violation of Idaho Code § 18-1509A. He pled guilty to that offense, and on February 23, 2005, he was granted a withheld judgment and placed on supervised probation for five years. One consequence of his guilty plea was that Defendant was required to register as a sex offender. Idaho Code § 18-8304(1)(a).

When he committed the crime, Idaho Code § 19-2604(1) provided him with an opportunity to request that he be permitted to withdraw his plea of guilty and to have the case dismissed. The trial court had the discretion to do so if Defendant had "at all times complied with the terms and conditions upon which he was placed on probation" and the trial court found that "there was no longer cause for continuing the period of probation" and doing so was "compatible with the public interest."

Effective July 1, 2006, Idaho Code § 19-2604 was amended to provide that "any offense requiring sex offender registration as set forth in section 18-8304, Idaho Code, shall not be subject to dismissal or reduction under this section." Ch. 157, § 1, 2006 Idaho Sess. Laws 473, 473. On May 5, 2008, Defendant's probation was amended to unsupervised probation, with all other terms and conditions of probation remaining in effect.

On July 1, 2009, Defendant moved to terminate his probation, to withdraw his guilty plea, and to have the case dismissed. The district court denied the motion based upon the 2006 amendment. It held that such amendment did not violate the ex post facto clauses of either the State or Federal Constitutions. Defendant then timely appealed.

II. ANALYSIS

The only issue in this appeal is whether applying the 2006 amendment to Defendant violates the ex post facto clauses of the State and Federal Constitutions. "Ex post facto laws are prohibited by article I, section 9, clause 3 of the United States Constitution and by article I, section 16 of the Idaho Constitution." Wheeler v. Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare, 147 Idaho 257, 262, 207 P.3d 988, 993 (2009) (italics in original). Both clauses prohibit statutes that make "more burdensome the punishment for a crime, after its commission." Id.

When Defendant committed his offense, Idaho Code § 19-2604(1) provided:

If sentence has been imposed but suspended, or if sentence has been withheld, upon application of the defendant and upon satisfactory showing that the defendant has at all times complied with the terms and conditions upon which he was placed on probation, the court may, if convinced by the showing made that there is no longer cause for continuing the period of probation, and if it be compatible with the public interest, terminate the sentence or set ...


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