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State v. David Leroy Lee

June 29, 2011

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DAVID LEROY LEE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Deborah A. Bail, District Judge.

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

2011 Opinion No. 38

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Judgment of conviction for failure to register as a sex offender, affirmed.

David Leroy Lee appeals from his judgment of conviction for failing to register as a sex offender. Idaho Code § 18-8309. Specifically, Lee asserts that the district court erred by denying his Idaho Criminal Rule 29 motion for judgment of acquittal. In addition, Lee contends that I.C. § 18-8309 is unconstitutionally vague. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm Lee's judgment of conviction.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURE

Lee, a convicted sex offender, was paroled in 2001. Upon his release from prison, Lee provided the Idaho State Police Sex Offender Registration Unit with a Boise address. Lee was placed on electronic monitoring and was required to wear an ankle bracelet to track his movements. Lee's parole officer visited Lee's Boise home monthly. Approximately seven months after Lee moved to his Boise address, Lee's neighbors notified his parole officer that hehad moved from his residence. The parole officer visited Lee's home and discovered that Lee's personal belongings were missing from the home and that his electronic monitoring bracelet had been left on his bed.

Thirty days later, Lee was charged with failure to register, I.C. § 18-8309, after his parole officer had been unsuccessful in locating Lee. In 2002, the Idaho State Police sent an annual sex offender registration notice to Lee's last known address. The notice was returned in an envelope marked "return to sender." The envelope also displayed a forwarding address sticker with Lee's name and a different Boise address. In 2009, evidence presented during Lee's parole violation hearing revealed that Lee had "traveled around" after leaving Idaho and eventually "ended up" in Belize.*fn1

Upon Lee's return to Idaho, the State filed an amended information for his 2001 failure to register charge, alleging specifically that Lee had changed his address and failed to notify either a county sheriff or the Idaho State Police. At a trial for failure to register, Lee moved for a judgment of acquittal at the close of the State's case, arguing that the evidence presented by the State was insufficient to prove the charged offense. The district court reserved ruling and submitted the State's case to the jury. Lee declined to present evidence in his defense. The jury subsequently found Lee guilty of failing to register under I.C. § 18-8309.

Following the jury's verdict, Lee filed a Rule 29 motion for judgment of acquittal, asserting that there was insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction. Specifically, Lee argued that I.C. § 18-8309 required the State to demonstrate that Lee changed his address to a new residence within the state of Idaho or another state. Lee contended that the State failed to establish where Lee moved once he left his Boise residence. After a hearing, the district court denied Lee's motion, agreeing with the State's assertion that I.C. § 18-8309 did not require the State to demonstrate a particular address for Lee once he left his Boise residence. The district court held that the State sufficiently proved that Lee no longer lived at his last known address and that he failed to notify the authorities of his new address. Lee appeals, challenging the district court's denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal.

II. ANALYSIS

Lee asserts that the district court erred by denying his Rule 29 motion for judgment of acquittal because there was insufficient evidence presented at trial to convict him of failure to register as a sex offender. Lee further contends that I.C. § 18-8309 is unconstitutionally vague because the statute does not provide fair notice of the elements of the crime when a sex offender moves to a foreign country.

Idaho Criminal Rule 29 provides that, when a verdict of guilty is returned, the court, on motion of the defendant, shall order the entry of a judgment of acquittal if the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction of the offense. The test applied when reviewing the district court's ruling on a motion for judgment of acquittal is to determine whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain a conviction of the crime charged. State v. Fields, 127 Idaho 904, 912-13, 908 P.2d 1211, 1219-20 (1995). When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence where a judgment of conviction has been entered upon a jury verdict, the evidence is sufficient to support the jury's guilty verdict if there is substantial evidence upon which a reasonable trier of fact could have found that the prosecution sustained its burden of proving the essential elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Herrera-Brito, 131 Idaho 383, 385, 957 P.2d 1099, 1101 (Ct. App. 1998); State v. Knutson, 121 Idaho 101, 104, 822 P.2d 998, 1001 (Ct. App. 1991). We do not substitute our view for that of the jury as to the credibility of the witnesses, the weight to be given to the testimony, and the reasonable inferences to be drawn from the evidence. Knutson, 121 Idaho at 104, 822 P.2d at 1001; State v. Decker, 108 Idaho 683, 684, 701 P.2d 303, 304 (Ct. App. 1985). Moreover, we consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution. Herrera-Brito, 131 Idaho at 385, 957 P.2d at 1101; Knutson, 121 Idaho at 104, 822 P.2d at 1001.

Idaho Code Section 18-8309 provides, in relevant part: *fn2

(1) If an offender changes address or actual residence, the offender shall provide written notice of the new address within two (2) working days after the change to the sheriff of the county where the offender is required to register. . .

(2) If an offender changes address to another state, the offender shall provide written notice of the new address within two (2) working days after ...


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