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State v. Philip L. Dieter

September 17, 2012

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
PHILIP L. DIETER,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. George D. Carey, District Judge.

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

2012 Opinion No. 125

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

This case arises out of an appeal of the district court's refusal to grant a dismissal following an evidentiary hearing in 2011. In 1988, Philip Dieter (Dieter) entered a plea agreement with the State in which he agreed to plead guilty to lewd conduct in exchange for the State's dismissal of two related charges. Subsequently, the court entered an Order of Withheld Judgment and Order of Probation. Following an amended order that enlarged the terms of probation, the district court dissolved and terminated probation in 1992. However, it did not dismiss the case. Dieter argues that the district court should be required to dismiss the case because the initial order contained a clause that stated the case would be dismissed if Dieter fully complied with his probation terms. He also argues that the district court had no authority to deny the dismissal. We affirm the decision of the district court.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

According to the presentence report for the 1988 charge, Dieter began a relationship with the victim in 1986. At the time, he was 31 years old and the victim was 15 years old. According to Dieter, he knew the victim's family well and dated the victim's older sister until she moved out of state. The victim's parents had essentially abandoned the family as they were driving trucks on long-haul routes, and the victim's brother was physically abusive towards the victim. Dieter claims he originally felt that he was protecting her from a bad situation and trying to keep her in school. This conforms with the victim's original statements; she stated that "[m]y parents were on the road driving a truck, my brother was violent and I was worried about food and how to take care of myself." In August of 1986, Dieter's relationship with the victim turned sexual, and did not end until over a year later when the victim was living full-time with foster parents. During this period, Dieter also took nude photos of the victim. According to Dieter, he was in love with the victim, and at one point asked her to marry him when she finished high school.

On July 12, 1988, a grand jury indicted Dieter on three charges: lewd conduct with a minor under sixteen, infamous crime against nature, and sexual abuse of a child under sixteen. Dieter entered into a plea agreement with the State and pled guilty to lewd conduct in exchange for the State dismissing the other two charges. On December 16, 1988, the district court, the Honorable Robert G. Newhouse presiding, entered an Order Withholding Judgment and Order of Probation. The joint order decreed a five year period of probation and withheld judgment. The order also stated that the case would be dismissed if Dieter fully complied with the terms of his probation.

The district court entered a Second Amended Order Withholding Judgment on June 21, 1990. This order continued the probation but enlarged the terms to allow Dieter to have full contact with minors in public places and with his new nuclear family.

On August 17, 1992, the State filed a motion for a bench warrant alleging that Dieter had violated several of the terms of his probation. However, the record contains no information regarding the disposition of the alleged probation violations, and there has never been a judicial finding that Dieter violated the terms of his probation. Dieter subsequently filed a motion to dissolve his probation on September 22, 1992. On October 9, 1992, the district court entered an Order Terminating Probation, Dissolving Order of Probation, and Entering Order Withholding Judgment. One year remained before the expiration of the probation, but the court found that Dieter had "substantially complied" with the terms of probation.

On September 16, 1999, Dieter filed a motion for expungement. It was denied on December 30, 1999. Almost eleven years later, on December 14, 2010, Dieter filed a pro se motion to dismiss his case "pursuant to the Orders issued . . . on December 16, 1988 and on October 9, 1992." The court then issued a "Notice of Intent to Deny Motion to Dismiss." It stated that I.C. § 19-2604(1) requires that defendants comply with the terms and conditions of probation "at all times" and make a "satisfactory showing" that dismissal would be "compatible with the public interest" for the court to dismiss the case. Based upon the partial record provided to the court that did not contain the disposition of the motion for the bench warrant, the court found that Dieter had not shown that he had complied with his probation at all times and had not made a satisfactory showing that dismissal was in the public interest.

Dieter then retained counsel, requested an evidentiary hearing, and filed a "Memorandum" on January 28, 2011, responding to the court's notice. In the memorandum, Dieter claimed that the alleged probation violations were "in dispute" in 1992, and were

"resolved by the court's order" when it terminated his probation. Dieter claimed that the termination was due in part to several affidavits regarding the alleged violations that were submitted by him and others on his behalf. Dieter's most significant argument with respect to the public interest issue was that he had moved to Montana in 1999, and Montana had recently passed a new statute that required anyone who had a sex offense on his record to register that offense. This registration would result in automatic termination of Dieter's hunting and fishing license and his right to vote. Dieter claimed that he hunted and fished to support his family. However, as a result of several accidents he suffered while working, he was significantly handicapped, had trouble balancing while walking, and thus had to hunt with a companion.

At the conclusion of the evidentiary hearing, Dieter asked the court to expunge or dismiss the case. The court found that, while Dieter appeared to have complied with the terms of his probation, dismissal was not in the public interest and entered an order denying the motion to dismiss. ...


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