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Richard John Urrizaga v. State of Idaho

March 14, 2013

RICHARD JOHN URRIZAGA, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF IDAHO, RESPONDENT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Twin Falls County. Hon. G. Richard Bevan, District Judge.

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

2013 Unpublished Opinion No. 400

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED OPINION AND SHALL NOT BE CITED AS AUTHORITY

Order summarily dismissing petition for post-conviction relief, affirmed.

Richard John Urrizaga appeals from the district court's summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEUDRE

In 2003, Urrizaga pled guilty to trafficking in drugs and was sentenced to a unified term of twenty-two years, with a minimum period of confinement of twelve years. In 2011, the State Appellate Public Defender's Office sent Urrizaga a letter indicating misconduct had previously occurred in at least one of the state's forensic laboratories and that Urrizaga may want to determine whether it had any bearing upon his case.

In July 2011, Urrizaga filed a petition for post-conviction relief and was thereafter appointed counsel. In addition to the petition, he submitted letters from the Idaho State Police to Idaho prosecutors generally describing the misconduct that had occurred. The letters indicated that employees at the forensic laboratory in Pocatello had wrongfully maintained a box of unaccounted for drugs that was used for tours of the facility. Employees concealed this box during audits of the facility. The letters also indicated that one employee had ordered a quantity of a drug (GHB) that was in excess of the amount authorized under the Idaho State Patrol Forensic Quality Manual. The employee also concealed this drug from inspectors and auditors.

In the affidavit accompanying his petition, Urrizaga alleged that the Idaho State Police had substituted unaccounted for drugs in place of the drugs related to his case and that the material confiscated from him was not illicit. Urrizaga provided no documents or other evidence supporting this contention and failed to provide a link between the issues at the state forensic lab and his case. The district court filed a notice of intent to dismiss pursuant to I.C. § 19-4906(b) stating that, while the district court found Urrizaga's petition timely, Urrizaga failed to assert facts which would entitle him to relief relating to the misconduct by the state forensic lab. Urrizaga filed a motion to extend time, and the district court granted that motion. However, Urrizaga thereafter failed to respond and the district court summarily dismissed his petition. Urrizaga appeals.

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A petition for post-conviction relief initiates a proceeding that is civil in nature. Rhoades v. State, 148 Idaho 247, 249, 220 P.3d 1066, 1068 (2009); State v. Bearshield, 104 Idaho 676, 678, 662 P.2d 548, 550 (1983); Murray v. State, 121 Idaho 918, 921, 828 P.2d 1323, 1326 (Ct. App. 1992). Like a plaintiff in a civil action, 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; 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. Dunlap v. State, 141 Idaho 50, 56, 106 P.3d 376, 382 (2004). A petition must contain much more than a short and plain statement of the claim that would suffice for a complaint under I.R.C.P. 8(a)(1). Rather, a petition for post-conviction relief 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 ...


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