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James Floyd v. State of Idaho

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF IDAHO


June 27, 2012

JAMES FLOYD,
PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF IDAHO,
RESPONDENT.

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

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

2012 Unpublished Opinion No. 539

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED OPINION AND SHALL NOT BE CITED AS AUTHORITY

Judgment summarily dismissing petition for post-conviction relief, affirmed in part and reversed in part, and case remanded.

James Floyd appeals from the summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. He asserts that an evidentiary hearing was required to resolve material issues of fact. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.

I.

BACKGROUND

Floyd was charged with possession of a controlled substance after the police found methamphetamine in his sock. He filed a motion to suppress this evidence, which the district court denied. He then entered a conditional plea of guilty, reserving his right to appeal the denial of his suppression motion. Floyd was sentenced to a unified five-year term with one and one- half years fixed. His sentence was suspended, however, and he was placed on probation. In 2006, the court revoked his probation and executed his sentence after Floyd violated the terms of his probation. The district court retained jurisdiction and, in 2007, suspended the remainder of Floyd's sentence and placed him on probation a second time. In 2008, the court again revoked Floyd's probation after Floyd admitted to violating the terms of his probation. His sentence was executed, and he was given credit for 232 days of incarceration previously served. In an unpublished opinion, this Court affirmed Floyd's judgment of conviction, holding the district court did not err in denying Floyd's motion to suppress evidence. State v. Floyd, Docket No. 34114 (Ct. App. Mar. 20, 2009).

While that appeal was pending, Floyd filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief in which he raised various claims, including a claim that he was not given all the credit for time served to which we was entitled and a claim that counsel was ineffective for failing to file a notice of appeal from the revocation of his probation. Counsel was appointed for Floyd, and his counsel filed an amended petition that included a claim that his trial attorney was ineffective for failing to request an evidentiary hearing on Floyd's suppression motion. After providing notice of its intent to dismiss, the district court summarily dismissed all the claims in Floyd's petition and amended petition. Floyd appeals.

II.

ANALYSIS

Idaho Code § 19-4906 authorizes summary dismissal of a petition for post-conviction relief, either pursuant to motion of a party or upon the court's own initiative. Summary dismissal of a petition is the procedural equivalent of summary judgment under Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 56. "A claim for post-conviction relief will be subject to summary dismissal . . . if the applicant has not presented evidence making a prima facie case as to each essential element of the claims upon which the applicant bears the burden of proof." DeRushe v. State, 146 Idaho 599, 603, 200 P.3d 1148, 1152 (2009) (quoting Berg v. State, 131 Idaho 517, 518, 960 P.2d 738, 739 (1998)). If there exists a genuine issue of material fact that, if resolved in the petitioner's favor, would entitle the petitioner to the requested relief, an evidentiary hearing must be conducted. State v. Payne, 146 Idaho 548, 561, 199 P.3d 123, 136 (2008); Goodwin v. State, 138 Idaho 269, 272, 61 P.3d 626, 629 (Ct. App. 2002). As the trial court rather than a jury will be the trier of fact in the event of an evidentiary hearing, summary dismissal is appropriate where the evidentiary facts are not disputed, despite the possibility of conflicting inferences to be drawn from the facts, for the court alone will be responsible for resolving the conflict between those inferences. State v. Yakovac, 145 Idaho 437, 444, 180 P.3d 476, 483 (2008); Hayes v. State, 146 Idaho 353, 355, 195 P.3d 712, 714 (Ct. App. 2008). That is, the judge in a post-conviction action is not constrained to draw inferences in favor of the party opposing the motion for summary disposition, but rather is free to arrive at the most probable inferences to be drawn from uncontroverted evidentiary facts. Hayes, 146 Idaho at 355, 195 P.3d at 714. "[W]hen reviewing a district court's order of summary dismissal in a post-conviction relief proceeding, we apply the same standard as that applied by the district court." Ridgley v. State, 148 Idaho 671, 675, 227 P.3d 925, 929 (2010).

To prevail on an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, the petitioner must show that his defense attorney's performance was deficient, and ordinarily the petitioner must also show that the defendant was prejudiced by the deficiency. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687-88 (1984); Hassett v. State, 127 Idaho 313, 316, 900 P.2d 221, 224 (Ct. App. 1995). To establish a deficiency, the petitioner has the burden of showing that the attorney's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. Strickland, 466 U.S. at 688; Aragon v. State, 114 Idaho 758, 760, 760 P.2d 1174, 1176 (1988). To establish prejudice, the petitioner must show a reasonable probability that, but for the attorney's deficient performance, the outcome of the trial would have been different. Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694; Aragon, 114 Idaho at 761, 760 P.2d at 1177.

A. Lack of Evidentiary Hearing on Suppression Motion

Floyd asserts that summary dismissal was erroneous because he presented evidence showing his trial attorney performed deficiently by not requesting an evidentiary hearing on his suppression motion, and that he was prejudiced thereby because he was unable to testify before the court and to cross-examine the officers. According to Floyd, the reasonable suspicion justifying his detention dissipated before the officers frisked him, when another officer advised them that Floyd was not the suspect the officers believed him to be when they stopped him. Floyd presented this contention to the district court in an affidavit supporting his suppression motion, but he asserts his attorney was deficient in not obtaining an evidentiary hearing at which he could have testified and could have elicited the officers' testimony on this point.

We find no error in the summary dismissal of the claim. Even if we assume that counsel performed deficiently by failing to request an evidentiary hearing (instead of presuming he made a permissible tactical decision to forgo the hearing in order to prevent cross-examination of Floyd and to prevent the officers from bolstering their own version of events), Floyd has not demonstrated that he was prejudiced thereby.*fn1 On appeal, Floyd asserts that he was prejudiced because "competent counsel would have sought to have the officers confirm" that they were informed that Floyd was not the person they were looking for before they frisked him, and "if the officers attempted to lie about this fact, it is something that competent counsel would have sought to cross-examine the officers on in an effort to ferret out their perjury." However, Floyd has presented no affidavits from the officers or other evidence indicating how the officers would have testified. The notion that the officers would have corroborated Floyd's version of events or that he would have been able to present any information not already made available to the court in his affidavit is entirely speculative. As stated by the district court:

If given the chance, Petitioner argues that he would have had his attorney cross-examine [the officers]; and that he would have "expose[d] the weakness of the officer's [sic] testimonies" and "show[n] the credibility gap of the officers." However, the Petitioner has not pointed to any facts which would constitute an alleged weakness or credibility gap. The only allegations addressing this issue deal with Officer Griggs. Petitioner believes that he lost his Motion to Suppress due in part to the testimony of Officer Griggs, an individual who the Petitioner feels had been his revenge-seeking nemesis since the late 1980's. However, other than informing the Court that it can verify his assertions by looking through police files and records, Petitioner offers no proof of this story. It is not the Court's duty to conduct investigatory research to support Petitioner's case. Petitioner's allegation is far-fetched, unsupported by admissible evidence, and frivolous. As such, it will be dismissed.

Moreover, even assuming there was a history of nemesis between the Petitioner and Officer Griggs, the Court notes that the testimony of all the officers was substantially similar, all confirming and bolstering the credibility of Officer Griggs.

Floyd did not meet his burden to demonstrate a reasonable probability that, but for the attorney's deficient performance, the outcome of the suppression hearing would have been different. Therefore, Floyd's claim that counsel was ineffective for failing to request an evidentiary hearing was properly dismissed.

B. Failure to Appeal from the Revocation of Probation

Floyd also asserts that the district court erred by summarily dismissing his claim that counsel was ineffective for failing to appeal the revocation of his probation. The State concedes that summary dismissal was erroneous because the district court misunderstood Floyd's claim. In his petition, Floyd claimed that "Counsel failed to file an appeal with-in [sic] 42 days upon Petitioner[']s request." In an affidavit in support of the petition, Floyd elaborated by stating that after his "probation was not re-enstated [sic]" he asked his attorney to file an appeal. The district court issued a notice of intent to dismiss the claim stating, "Petitioner next alleges his counsel failed to file a timely appeal of the underlying conviction." (Emphasis added.) The district court concluded that because an appeal had been filed, the claim would be dismissed. In response, Floyd filed an additional affidavit in which he stated, "My allegation is that [counsel] failed to file an appeal from the probation revocation hearing." Without addressing Floyd's clarification of the issue, the district court dismissed the claim on the grounds stated in its previous notice. Because the district court erroneously perceived Floyd's claim to be a claim that counsel did not appeal his conviction, when in fact the claim was that counsel did not appeal the revocation of his probation, we agree that summary dismissal of that claim was erroneous. Accordingly, we reverse the summary dismissal of this claim and remand for further proceedings.

C. Credit for Time Served

Lastly, Floyd contends that the district court erroneously dismissed his claim that he is entitled to credit for 253 days of incarceration served before his probation was revoked instead of the 232 days' credit given. In support of his petition, Floyd submitted a "scratch sheet" listing various dates for which he asserts credit should have been given. In its notice of intent to dismiss this claim, the district court made the following comment: "Petitioner has not supported this claim by directing the court's attention to the record, nor has he provided any other evidence as support of this assertion." Then the court added in a footnote, "If petitioner were to provide proper documentation and evidence of this claim, the court would be inclined to oblige." From these comments, it appears that the court may have overlooked Floyd's handwritten list of dates for which he asserts credit should have been given, which stated the number of days for each alleged segment of incarceration and the precipitating act, including the original arrest, two agents' warrants, and a bond revocation. If so, the oversight was understandable as this list was buried between copies of letters to Floyd's counsel that were attached to one of his pro se affidavits. This document sets out Floyd's calculations of credit for time served with sufficient specificity to identify at least some of the relevant documents in the criminal case file. Of course, Floyd's post-conviction counsel ought to have heeded the district court's request for specific documentation. However, the State concedes on appeal that Floyd may be entitled to some additional credit and, in order to avoid an otherwise inevitable successive petition due to post-conviction counsel's failure to properly support this claim with evidence, the State stipulates to the remand of this case for determination of credit to which Floyd may be entitled. Accordingly, we vacate the summary dismissal of this claim and remand to allow Floyd and his attorney one more opportunity to submit evidence to support this claim.*fn2

III.

CONCLUSION

Floyd did not demonstrate that he was prejudiced by counsel's alleged failure to request an evidentiary hearing on his suppression motion. Therefore, the summary dismissal of that claim is affirmed. The summary dismissal of Floyd's claim regarding counsel's failure to appeal the revocation of his probation is vacated and remanded because the court did not address the claim presented by Floyd. Lastly, we vacate the summary dismissal of Floyd's claim for additional credit for time served, and on remand Floyd should be given the opportunity with the assistance of counsel to present evidence in support of his claim.

Chief Judge GRATTON and Judge MELANSON CONCUR.


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