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State v. Mercer

Court of Appeals of Idaho

February 25, 2014

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DAVID B. MERCER, Defendant-Appellant.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

2014 Unpublished Opinion No. 393

Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Lynn G. Norton, District Judge.

Order revoking probation and requiring execution of unified ten-year sentence, with five-year determinate term, for felony driving under the influence, affirmed; order denying I.C.R. 35 motion for reduction of sentence, affirmed.

Sara B. Thomas, State Appellate Public Defender; Sally J. Cooley, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Kenneth K. Jorgensen, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

Before GUTIERREZ, Chief Judge; GRATTON, Judge; and MELANSON, Judge.

PER CURIAM.

David B. Mercer pled guilty to felony driving under the influence. I.C. §§ 18-8004 and 18-8005(5). In exchange for his guilty plea, the state agreed not to pursue an allegation that Mercer was a persistent violator. The district court imposed a unified ten-year sentence, with a five-year determinate term, but after a period of retained jurisdiction, suspended the sentence and placed Mercer on probation. Subsequently, Mercer admitted to violating the terms of the probation, and the district court consequently revoked probation and ordered execution of the original sentence. Mercer filed an I.C.R. 35 motion for reduction of his sentence, which the district court denied. Mercer appeals, contending that the district court abused its discretion in revoking probation, that the sentence is excessive, and that the district court erred in denying his Rule 35 motion.

It is within the trial court's discretion to revoke probation if any of the terms and conditions of the probation have been violated. I.C. §§ 19-2603, 20-222; State v. Beckett, 122 Idaho 324, 325, 834 P.2d 326, 327 (Ct. App. 1992); State v. Adams, 115 Idaho 1053, 1054, 772 P.2d 260, 261 (Ct. App. 1989); State v. Hass, 114 Idaho 554, 558, 758 P.2d 713, 717 (Ct. App. 1988). In determining whether to revoke probation a court must examine whether the probation is achieving the goal of rehabilitation and consistent with the protection of society. State v. Upton, 127 Idaho 274, 275, 899 P.2d 984, 985 (Ct. App. 1995); Beckett, 122 Idaho at 325, 834 P.2d at 327; Hass, 114 Idaho at 558, 758 P.2d at 717. The court may, after a probation violation has been established, order that the suspended sentence be executed or, in the alternative, the court is authorized under Idaho Criminal Rule 35 to reduce the sentence. Beckett, 122 Idaho at 325, 834 P.2d at 327; State v. Marks, 116 Idaho 976, 977, 783 P.2d 315, 316 (Ct. App. 1989). The court may also order a period of retained jurisdiction. State v. Urrabazo, 150 Idaho 158, 162, 244 P.3d 1244, 1248 (2010). A decision to revoke probation will be disturbed on appeal only upon a showing that the trial court abused its discretion. Beckett, 122 Idaho at 325, 834 P.2d at 327. In reviewing the propriety of a probation revocation, the focus of the inquiry is the conduct underlying the trial court's decision to revoke probation. State v. Morgan, 153 Idaho 618, 621, 288 P.3d 835, 838 (Ct. App. 2012). Thus, this Court will consider the elements of the record before the trial court relevant to the revocation of probation issues which are properly made part of the record on appeal. Id.

Sentencing is also a matter for the trial court's discretion. Both our standard of review and the factors to be considered in evaluating the reasonableness of a sentence are well established and need not be repeated here. See State v. Hernandez, 121 Idaho 114, 117-18, 822 P.2d 1011, 1014-15 (Ct. App. 1991); State v. Lopez, 106 Idaho 447, 449-51, 680 P.2d 869, 871-73 (Ct. App. 1984); State v. Toohill, 103 Idaho 565, 568, 650 P.2d 707, 710 (Ct. App. 1982). When reviewing the length of a sentence, we consider the defendant's entire sentence. State v. Oliver, 144 Idaho 722, 726, 170 P.3d 387, 391 (2007).

When we review a sentence that is ordered into execution following a period of probation, we will examine the entire record encompassing events before and after the original judgment. State v. Hanington, 148 Idaho 26, 29, 218 P.3d 5, 8 (Ct. App. 2009). We base our review upon the facts existing when the sentence was imposed as well as events occurring between the original sentencing and the revocation of probation. Id. Thus, this Court will consider the elements of the record before the trial court that are properly made part of the record on appeal and are relevant to the defendant's contention that the trial court should have reduced the sentence sua sponte upon revocation of probation. State v. Morgan, 153 Idaho 618, 621, 288 P.3d 835, 838 (Ct. App. 2012).

A motion for reduction of sentence under I.C.R. 35 is essentially a plea for leniency, addressed to the sound discretion of the court. State v. Knighton, 143 Idaho 318, 319, 144 P.3d 23, 24 (2006); State v. Allbee, 115 Idaho 845, 846, 771 P.2d 66, 67 (Ct. App. 1989). In presenting a Rule 35 motion, the defendant must show that the sentence is excessive in light of new or additional information subsequently provided to the district court in support of the motion. State v. Huffman, 144 Idaho 201, 203, 159 P.3d 838, 840 (2007). In conducting our review of the grant or denial of a Rule 35 motion, we consider the entire record and apply the same criteria used for determining the reasonableness of the original sentence. State v. Forde, 113 Idaho 21, 22, 740 P.2d 63, 64 (Ct. App. 1987); Lopez, 106 Idaho at 449-51, 680 P.2d at 871-73.

Applying the foregoing standards, and having reviewed the record in this case, we cannot say that the district court abused its discretion either in revoking probation, in ordering execution of Mercer's original sentence without modification, or in denying his Rule 35 motion. Therefore, the order revoking probation and directing execution of Mercer's previously suspended sentence and the order denying his Rule 35 motion for reduction of sentence are affirmed.


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