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State of Idaho v. G. W. Haight

April 26, 2013

STATE OF IDAHO,
PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
G. W. HAIGHT,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Carl B. Kerrick, District Judge; Hon. Barry Watson, Magistrate.

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

2013 Unpublished Opinion No. 465

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED OPINION AND SHALL NOT BE CITED AS AUTHORITY

Decision, on intermediate appeal, affirming judgment of conviction for failing to signal a lane change, affirmed.

G. W. Haight appeals from the district court's decision, on intermediate appeal, affirming the judgment of conviction, entered by the magistrate, for failing to signal a lane change, an infraction. Haight argues the magistrate's finding of guilt was not supported by sufficient evidence. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I.

BACKGROUND

Kootenai County Sheriff's Department Deputy Erik Hedlund issued Haight an infraction citation for "fail[ure] to signal with reasonable safety," a violation of Idaho Code § 49-808. A bench trial was held and the only witnesses who testified were Haight and Deputy Hedlund. The magistrate found that Haight committed the infraction and entered a judgment.

Haight appealed to the district court, and the district court affirmed. Haight filed a timely notice of appeal from the district court's decision, arguing that evidence consisting solely of one witness's testimony is insufficient to satisfy the State's burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

On review of a decision of the district court, rendered in its appellate capacity, we review the decision of the district court directly. Losser v. Bradstreet, 145 Idaho 670, 672, 183 P.3d 758, 760 (2008); State v. DeWitt, 145 Idaho 709, 711, 184 P.3d 215, 217 (Ct. App. 2008). We examine the magistrate record to determine whether there is substantial and competent evidence to support the magistrate's findings of fact and whether the magistrate's conclusions of law follow from those findings. Losser, 145 Idaho at 672, 183 P.3d at 760; DeWitt, 145 Idaho at 711, 184 P.3d at 217. If those findings are so supported and the conclusions follow therefrom and if the district court affirmed the magistrate's decision, we affirm the district court's decision as a matter of procedure. Losser, 145 Idaho at 672, 183 P.3d at 760; DeWitt, 145 Idaho at 711, 184 P.3d at 217.

In Idaho, although a traffic infraction is denominated a "civil public offense" and carries no right to trial by jury, it is otherwise treated like a criminal offense for the purposes of trial and is subject to the same burden of proof. I.C. § 49-1502; Idaho Infraction Rules 1 and 7. Thus, the state must prove the elements of an infraction beyond a reasonable doubt. I.I.R. 7(e).

Our review of the sufficiency of the evidence is limited to ascertaining whether there is substantial evidence upon which the trial court could have found that the prosecution met its burden of proving the essential elements of the infraction beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Bettwieser, 143 Idaho 582, 588, 149 P.3d 857, 863 (Ct. App. 2006); State v. Thompson, 130 Idaho 819, 821, 948 P.2d 174, 176 (Ct. App. 1997); State v. Reyes, 121 Idaho 570, 572, 826 P.2d 919, 921 (Ct. App. 1992). Stated another way, it is not the province of this Court to determine whether the evidence the trier of fact relied on actually meets the applicable burden of proof. Rather, it is ...


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