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State of Idaho v. Larry Dean Corwin

October 3, 2012

STATE OF IDAHO,
PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
LARRY DEAN CORWIN,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Cheri C. Copsey, District Judge.

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

2012 Unpublished Opinion No. 657

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

) THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED ) OPINION AND SHALL NOT ) BE CITED AS AUTHORITY

Judgment of conviction and unified sentence of thirty years, with five years determinate, for felony driving under the influence, with enhancement, affirmed.

Larry Dean Corwin appeals from his judgment of conviction for felony driving under the influence, and the district court's finding that he was a persistent violator. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Police stopped Corwin on suspicion of driving under the influence. Corwin performed three field sobriety tests, failing each one. He was arrested and later submitted to a breath test, which showed a blood alcohol content of .083 and .085. Following a trial, Corwin was convicted of felony DUI, Idaho Code §§ 18-8004, 18-8005(5) and found to be a persistent violator, I.C. § 19-2514. The district court imposed a unified sentence of thirty years with ten years determinate, later reduced to five years determinate pursuant to Idaho Criminal Rule 35. Corwin timely appeals.

II.

ANALYSIS

Corwin claims the prosecutor committed misconduct during his rebuttal to defense counsel's closing statement. The State contends that Corwin failed to establish error, much less fundamental error.

Closing argument serves to sharpen and clarify the issues for resolution by the trier of fact in a criminal case. State v. Phillips, 144 Idaho 82, 86, 156 P.3d 583, 587 (Ct. App. 2007). Its purpose is to enlighten the jury and to help the jurors remember and interpret the evidence. Id.; State v. Reynolds, 120 Idaho 445, 450, 816 P.2d 1002, 1007 (Ct. App. 1991). Both sides have traditionally been afforded considerable latitude in closing argument to the jury and are entitled to discuss fully, from their respective standpoints, the evidence and the inferences to be drawn therefrom. State v. Sheahan, 139 Idaho 267, 280, 77 P.3d 956, 969 (2003); Phillips, 144 Idaho at 86, 156 P.3d at 587.

Closing argument should not include counsel's personal opinions and beliefs about the credibility of a witness or the guilt or innocence of the accused. Phillips, 144 Idaho at 86, 156 P.3d at 587. See also State v. Garcia, 100 Idaho 108, 110-11, 594 P.2d 146, 148-49 (1979); State v. Priest, 128 Idaho 6, 14, 909 P.2d 624, 632 (Ct. App. 1995); State v. Ames, 109 Idaho 373, 376, 707 P.2d 484, 487 (Ct. App. 1985). A prosecuting attorney may express an opinion in argument as to the truth or falsity of testimony or the guilt of the defendant when such opinion is based upon the evidence, but the prosecutor should exercise caution to avoid interjecting his or her personal belief and should explicitly state that the opinion is based solely on inferences from evidence presented at trial. ...


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