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Michael C. Williams v. State of Idaho

November 15, 2012

MICHAEL C. WILLIAMS,
PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF IDAHO,
RESPONDENT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bingham County. Hon. Jon J. Shindurling, District Judge.

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

2012 Unpublished Opinion No. 724

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THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED OPINION AND SHALL NOT BE CITED AS AUTHORITY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

Michael C. Williams appeals from the district court's summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. We affirm.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURE

Williams and his brother, Doug, exited a bar to return home. Upon exiting, Doug entered into a dispute with some other men, while Williams opened his pickup door and sat down inside. After learning of the dispute, one of the men, Chris Adams, broke a beer bottle on the ground and began to walk towards Williams. A verbal altercation ensued, and Williams produced a gun and shot Adams three times in the chest, killing him.

Williams was charged with first degree murder, with a deadly weapon enhancement. The jury found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter, Idaho Code § 18-4006(1), with a deadly weapon enhancement, I.C. § 19-2520. The district court imposed a unified thirty-year sentence with a twenty-five-year determinate term of confinement. Williams filed an Idaho Criminal Rule 35 motion for reduction of the sentence which the district court denied and this Court affirmed. State v. Williams, Docket No. 33019 (Ct. App. Aug. 16, 2007) (unpublished).

Williams then filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging, among other claims, ineffective assistance of defense counsel. Upon the State's motion for summary dismissal, the district court dismissed all claims except one claim of ineffective assistance of counsel arising from defense counsel's failure to move to suppress evidence that was allegedly obtained through a Miranda*fn1 violation. Williams timely appeals, contending that summary dismissal of his post-conviction petition was improper.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Williams alleges that his defense counsel provided ineffective assistance by abandoning the theory of self-defense, and thereby conceding his guilt to voluntary manslaughter. The State claims the record demonstrates that defense counsel did present self-defense and, therefore, did not concede guilt to voluntary manslaughter.

A petition for post-conviction relief initiates a civil, rather than criminal, proceeding, governed by the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure. State v. Yakovac, 145 Idaho 437, 443, 180 P.3d 476, 482 (2008). See also Pizzuto v. State, 146 Idaho 720, 724, 202 P.3d 642, 646 (2008). Like plaintiffs in other civil actions, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of evidence the allegations upon which the request for post-conviction relief is based. I.C. ยง 19-4907; Stuart v. State, 118 Idaho 865, 869, 801 P.2d 1216, 1220 (1990); Goodwin v. State, 138 Idaho 269, 271, 61 P.3d 626, 628 (Ct. App. 2002). A petition for post-conviction relief differs from a complaint in an ordinary civil action, however, in that it must contain more than "a short and plain statement of the claim" that would suffice for a complaint under I.R.C.P. 8(a)(1). State v. Payne, 146 Idaho 548, 560, 199 P.3d 123, 135 (2008); Goodwin, 138 Idaho at 271, 61 P.3d at 628. The petition must be verified with respect to facts within the personal knowledge of the petitioner, and affidavits, records or other evidence supporting its allegations must be attached, or the petition must state why such supporting evidence is not included. ...


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