October 24, 2013
RONALD LEE MACIK, Petitioner-Appellant,
STATE OF IDAHO, Respondent.
2013 Unpublished Opinion No. 722
Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Cheri C. Copsey, District Judge.
Order summarily dismissing petition for post-conviction relief, reversed and case remanded.
Sara B. Thomas, State Appellate Public Defender; Shawn F. Wilkerson, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.
Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Jessica M. Lorello, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
Ronald Lee Macik appeals from the district court's order summarily dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief. For the reasons stated below, we reverse and remand to the district court for further proceedings.
In 1972, Macik pled guilty to first degree murder and the district court imposed a life sentence. Macik did not appeal, or any appeal that he filed was dismissed, as there is no record of an appeal in his case. On March 14, 2011, Macik wrote a letter to the district court that was treated as a motion to withdraw his guilty plea and counsel was appointed to represent him. The district court concluded that it was without jurisdiction to consider the merits of Macik's claim and denied the motion. This Court affirmed the district court's decision in State v. Macik, Docket No. 39233 (Ct. App. 2012) (unpublished) and a remittitur was issued on June 28, 2012.
On July 26, 2012, Macik filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging several claims related to the entry of his guilty plea in 1972. Macik also filed a motion for the appointment of counsel, which the district court denied on August 8, 2012. On August 22, 2012, the State filed a motion for summary dismissal of Macik's petition. The district court granted the motion five days after its filing and summarily dismissed the petition on August 27, 2012.
On August 29, 2012, Macik filed a motion for leave to amend his petition, requesting permission to submit evidence of his claims to the district court. On August 30, 2012, the district court denied his motion, finding that he failed to identify any new claims he might have. Macik timely appeals.
Macik argues that the district court erred by not allowing him twenty days in which to respond to the State's motion for summary judgment. When the State files a motion to dismiss, the petitioner is entitled to a twenty-day period of time to respond. State v. Christensen, 102 Idaho 487, 489, 632 P.2d 676, 678 (1981); Isaak v. State, 132 Idaho 369, 370, 972 P.2d 1097, 1098 (Ct. App. 1999). The purpose of the twenty days' notice is to ensure that the applicant will have an opportunity to challenge an adverse decision before it becomes final. Baruth v. Gardner, 110 Idaho 156, 158-59, 715 P.2d 369, 371-72 (Ct. App. 1986); Gibbs v. State, 103 Idaho 758, 760, 653 P.2d 813, 815 (Ct. App. 1982). Ordinarily, the failure to provide a petitioner with twenty days' notice before entering an order of summary dismissal is ground for reversal. See Saykhamchone v. State, 127 Idaho 319, 321-22, 900 P.2d 795, 797-98 (1995); Buss v. State, 147 Idaho 514, 518-19, 211 P.3d 123, 127-28 (Ct. App. 2009).
As discussed above, the State filed its motion for summary dismissal of Macik's petition on August 22, 2012. The district court granted the motion and summarily dismissed the petition on August 27, 2012. Accordingly, Macik was not allowed the mandatory twenty-day period to respond to the State's motion. Without the requisite time to respond, Macik lost the opportunity to correct the defects in his petition and possibly avoid summary dismissal. The opportunity for an applicant to adequately and appropriately respond, in order to avoid summary dismissal and have the merits of his or her application considered at an evidentiary hearing, is a substantial right. Baker v. State, 142 Idaho 411, 421, 128 P.3d 948, 958 (Ct. App. 2005). When that right is affected by a defective notice of proposed dismissal, this Court cannot disregard the error. Id. Therefore, we conclude that the district court erred by dismissing Macik's petition without allowing him the prescribed time to respond. Thus, we reverse the district court's order summarily dismissing Macik's petition for post-conviction relief and remand. Regardless of how apparent the appropriateness of summary dismissal may be, the petitioner is entitled to the full twenty days to respond.
The district court was required to allow Macik twenty days to respond to the State's motion for summary dismissal. Therefore, we reverse the district court's order summarily dismissing Macik's petition for post-conviction relief and remand this matter to the district court for further proceedings.
GUTIERREZ Chief Judge and MELANSON Judge CONCUR.