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State v. Bruce E. Reed

December 17, 2012

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
BRUCE E. REED,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Michael R. McLaughlin, District Judge.

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

2012 Opinion No. 67

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Judgment of conviction and unified eleven-year sentence with two-year determinate term for enticing a child over the Internet, affirmed.

Bruce E. Reed appeals from his judgment of conviction for enticing a child over the Internet. He contends that the trial evidence was insufficient to prove his guilt and that his sentence is excessive. We affirm.

I.

BACKGROUND

Over the course of about five months, Reed participated in sexually explicit online chats with "borahjenny," a person he believed to be a fifteen-year-old girl. In reality, "borahjenny" was a middle-aged male police detective who was investigating Internet crimes against children. Reed was eventually charged with enticing a child over the Internet in violation of Idaho Code § 18-1509A, and was found guilty by a jury. The district court imposed a unified sentence of eleven years, with two years determinate. Reed appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence to support the verdict and contending that his sentence is excessive.

II.

ANALYSIS

A. Sufficiency of the Evidence

Reed first argues that although there was abundant evidence of sexually explicit "instant messaging" communication between him and "borahjenny," the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for the charged offense because he "did not attempt to personally meet borahjenny or provide the detective with any of his contact information to facilitate a meeting." Reed posits that the crime defined in I.C. § 18-1509A, as it existed at the time he was charged, required something more than online communications in which sexual acts were invited. Rather, he contends, a violation required some additional acts such as scheduling a specific meeting at a specific time and place. Thus, the initial issue presented is one of statutory construction.

This Court exercises free review over the application and construction of statutes. State v. Reyes, 139 Idaho 502, 505, 80 P.3d 1103, 1106 (Ct. App. 2003). Where the language of a statute is plain and unambiguous, this Court must give effect to the statute as written, without engaging in statutory construction. State v. Burnight, 132 Idaho 654, 659, 978 P.2d 214, 219 (1999); State v. Escobar, 134 Idaho 387, 389, 3 P.3d 65, 67 (Ct. App. 2000). The words must be given their plain, usual, and ordinary meaning, and the statute must be construed as a whole. State v. Hart, 135 Idaho 827, 829, 25 P.3d 850, 852 (2001). If the language is clear and unambiguous, there is no occasion for the court to resort to legislative history or rules of statutory interpretation. Escobar, 134 Idaho at 389, 3 P.3d at 67. When this Court must engage in statutory construction because an ambiguity exists, it has the duty to ascertain the legislative intent and give effect to that intent. State v. Beard, 135 Idaho 641, 646, 22 P.3d 116, 121 (Ct. App. 2001).

At the time of Reed's communications with "borahjenny" in late 2009 and early 2010, the crime of enticing a child over the Internet was defined in ...


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