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State of Idaho v. Rex Floyd Rammell

March 28, 2013

STATE OF IDAHO,
PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
REX FLOYD RAMMELL,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bonneville County. Hon. Jon J. Shindurling, District Judge. Hon. Stephen J. Clark, Magistrate.

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

2013 Unpublished Opinion No. 419

THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED OPINION AND SHALL NOT BE CITED AS AUTHORITY

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Order of the district court, on intermediate appeal from the magistrate division, affirming judgment of conviction for possession of unlawfully taken wildlife, affirmed.

Rex Floyd Rammell appeals from the district court's intermediate appellate decision affirming his conviction for possessing unlawfully taken wildlife. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On November 30, 2010, Rammell killed a cow elk in the Tex Creek zone. Earlier that fall, Rammell was issued a tag to hunt elk in the Middle Fork zone. As a result of killing the elk in the wrong zone, Rammell was charged with possessing unlawfully taken wildlife, a misdemeanor, pursuant to Idaho Code § 36-502(b). The district court, in its opinion and order on appeal, noted the case's arduous procedural history:

On April 14, 2011, the State filed a Motion in Limine requesting a ruling by the magistrate court that Defendant would be "precluded from attempting to admit any evidence of his intent, anything that occurred after he was found in possession of the elk and any other immaterial matters, including but not limited to, events prior to 11/30/10 involving the Defendant and IDFG." The State argued that because the crime charged is a general intent crime, it does not require any specific intent.

On April 20, 2011, the magistrate court issued its Order on the State's Motion in Limine. The court ordered that "there shall be no evidence presented by the defendant concerning his intent or lack of intent to violate the law or his knowledge or lack of knowledge concerning elk hunting rules and regulations. Defendant shall not be permitted to introduce any evidence as to what Defendant alleges was stated to him by any representative of Sportsman's Warehouse or by anyone with regard to hunting law and regulations, including but not limited to the use of an elk 'A' tag."

On April 21, 2011, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss. Defendant argued the Criminal Complaint is insufficient as it "sets forth no statute or rule proscribing the manner in which the Defendant 'took' or 'killed' the animal unlawfully." Further, Defendant argued the Criminal Complaint is insufficient as no IDAPA violation was alleged and there was no reference to the 2010 Idaho Big Game Seasons and Rules publication. In response to Defendant's arguments, the State filed a Motion to Amend Complaint to include the relevant IDAPA citations and the Idaho Big Game Seasons and Rules 2010 brochure. The magistrate court granted the Motion to Amend on April 23, 2011, and on that same day the Amended Criminal Complaint was filed.

On April 25, 2011, the Defendant filed an objection to the State's proposed jury instruction concerning IDAPA 13.0.08255 and a Motion to Reconsider Admissibility of Intent Evidence. The Defendant argued that the jury should not be instructed that IDAPA 13.01.08255 stands alone as the state of Idaho law without instructing them "that the Department of Fish and Game's Idaho Big Game Seasons and Rules 2010, consistent with Idaho Code § 36- 105(3) (c), 'shall be text of the [Department of Fish and Game's] proclamation' to hunters." The Defendant also argued that pursuant to the same statute, the magistrate court and the jury "'shall' take judicial notice of the 'proclamation, pamphlet, or brochure.'" The Defendant's argument for his Motion to Reconsider requested the magistrate court to reconsider its Order on the admissibility of intent evidence in light of the United States Supreme Court case Staples v. United States, 511 U.S. 600 ([1994]).

The State filed a 2nd Motion in Limine on April 25, 2011. The State requested a ruling by the magistrate court that the Defendant be precluded from calling any witnesses or introducing any exhibits at trial because the Defendant failed to respond to the State's discovery request regarding the identity of documents and witnesses the Defendant intended to introduce at trial. The State notes that although the Defendant did submit a purported witness and exhibit list and jury instructions by email, the email was not seen until 3 days before trial. The State also argued that the Idaho Big Game Seasons and Rules 2010 "should be precluded on the ground that it presents a legal issue for the Court and not the jury."

On April 25, 2011, the magistrate court issued its Order on the various motions filed by the State and Defendant. The court noted that it previously "ruled that intent was irrelevant based upon the case law presented and its belief that mistake of law is not a defense to a general intent crime." The court further states that "this is a regulatory issue and the difference between malum in se and malum prohibitum crimes is applicable in this case. Regulatory crimes generally do not require any specific intent other than to do the act complained of." Regarding the burden of the State at trial, the court found that the State must prove "the underlying illegality in the taking of the animal to prove unlawful possession of the animal." The court explained that it allowed the complaint to be amended because "[t]he state is not charging a new offense rather the amendment more particularly points to the regulation making the taking of the animal illegal" and further noted that the amendment "does not impinge on Mr. Rammell's defense, but now focuses the issue more precisely." The court found the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss was not well founded based upon the Amended Complaint and the reasons for allowing it. Finally, the magistrate court addressed what it deemed to be applicable law in this case. Specifically, the court addressed the Defendant's argument that there was not sufficient notice. The court found that it could not "find sufficient incongruence between the regulations and the publication to invalidate the charges pending herein." It concluded that as the question of the applicability of the law is a question for the court, "in this case the Court finds little difference between the IDAPA regulations and that described in the publication. The IDAPA regulations being the actual regulations it is that which should be given to the jury. How that law applies to the facts of the case is the province of the jury."

On May 11, 2011, Defendant filed two motions and argued that the magistrate court lacked personal and subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case because "Rex Rammell is outside the de facto jurisdiction with proper standing in the de jure state of Idaho." The motions were heard and denied on May 25, 2011.

On May 31, 2011, Defendant filed an objection to jury instructions and a Motion to Reconsider. Defendant argued that he should be allowed to present his theory to the jury that he lacked the criminal intent or criminal negligence he alleges is required by law to be found guilty of the charged crime. The magistrate court issued its Order on Defendant's Motion to Reconsider on July 1, 2011. The magistrate court upheld its previous ruling on the intent issues, explaining again that case law clearly establishes that the crime that Defendant was charged with is a general intent crime which does not require proof of criminal intent or criminal negligence as argued by Defendant.

Jury trial in this matter was held on June 30, 2011 and the jury returned a guilty verdict. Defendant filed a notice of appeal on July 1, 2011. The matter came before ...


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