2014 Opinion No. 90
Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Richard D. Greenwood, District Judge.
The decisions of the district court are affirmed in part and reversed in part.
Silvey Law Office, Star, for appellant. Greg S. Silvey argued.
Honorable Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Kenneth K. Jorgensen argued.
J. JONES, Justice. Chief Justice BURDICK, and Justices EISMANN, W. JONES, and HORTON CONCUR.
J. JONES, Justice
This appeal arises from the conviction of Charlynda Goggin for conspiracy to manufacture, deliver or possess with intent to deliver a controlled substance; conspiracy to deliver or possess with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia; delivery of a controlled substance; and delivery of drug paraphernalia. After the jury returned a guilty verdict, Goggin filed a motion to acquit and a motion for a new trial. The district court denied the motion to acquit but granted the motion for a new trial on the conspiracy charges, holding that the jury should have been instructed that mistake of law is a defense to conspiracy. We affirm in part and reverse in part.
In September 2011, in response to a tip regarding suspicious activity, the Boise Police Department began investigating a warehouse in Boise leased by a man named Morgan Alley. The police conducted surveillance of the warehouse, observing who came and went, and seized trash discarded outside the warehouse on multiple occasions. Upon obtaining a warrant, Detective Joseph Andreoli searched the warehouse and found synthetic cannabinoids and the materials necessary to manufacture products containing synthetic cannabinoids. Andreoli testified that the warehouse contained " all of the items necessary" to manufacture synthetic marijuana, " including chemical; plant material; acetone, which is used as a solvent; and tobacco flavoring." The warehouse also contained " the packaging materials, such as the small plastic containers, lids, and sticker labels" necessary to package a finished synthetic marijuana product. In fact, the warehouse was set up in an assembly line fashion and contained synthetic marijuana in various stages of completion. The warehouse also contained finished synthetic marijuana products in small plastic containers labeled with stickers reading " Twizted Potpourri."
During the course of the investigation, the police expanded their surveillance to include the Red Eye Hut (the Red Eye), a Boise store owned by the limited liability company for which Morgan Alley was the registered agent. Detective Andreoli stated that the Red Eye " appeared to be a head shop"  due to the nature " of the items for sale inside." The shop contained various types of pipes, concealment containers, grinders, digital scales, drug testing kits, and " body-cleansing
solutions to defeat drug tests." At one point, Detectives Kevin Holtry and Jason Harmon entered the Red Eye in an undercover capacity and purchased three containers of Twizted Potpourri and a metal pipe from Goggin. Testing showed that one of these containers contained plant material treated with JWH-019 and the other two containers contained plant material treated with AM-2201. Both JWH-019 and AM-2201 are synthetic cannabinoids. Thereafter, the police executed search warrants on the warehouse and the Red Eye, seizing approximately 30,000 containers of Twizted Potpourri from the warehouse and over 9,000 containers of Potpourri and 340 pipes from the Red Eye.
Goggin was arrested and ultimately admitted to selling Twizted Potpourri and a pipe to Harmon and to working at the warehouse. She was charged with conspiracy to manufacture, deliver or possess with intent to deliver a controlled substance in violation of Idaho Code sections 37-2732(a), 18-1701, and 37-2732(f); conspiracy to deliver or possess with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia in violation of Idaho Code sections 37-2734B and 18-1701; delivery of a controlled substance in violation of Idaho Code section 37-2732(a); and delivery of drug paraphernalia in violation of Idaho Code section 37-2734B. Her case was consolidated with co-defendants Morgan Alley, Tashina Alley, Cadee Peterson, Matthew Taylor, Hieu Phan, and Tonya Williams. Prior to trial, Goggin joined in a motion to dismiss filed by Morgan Alley, in which he argued that AM-2201 was not a Schedule I controlled substance. The district court denied this motion, holding that even though AM-2201 was not specifically named in Schedule I, the Legislature intended for it to be included within Schedule I's scope. Subsequently, Alley entered a conditional guilty plea, but preserved his right to appeal the district court's denial of his motion to dismiss. State v. Alley, 155 Idaho 972, 975, 318 P.3d 962, 965 (Ct. App. 2014). After hearing Alley's appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the district court's decision, holding that whether AM-2201 falls under Schedule I " is a factual question that cannot be resolved in a pretrial motion to dismiss." Id. at 980--81, 318 P.3d at 970--71.
Four of the defendants--Goggin, Peterson, Taylor, and Tashina Alley--proceeded to jury trial. The jury convicted Goggin on all counts. Goggin then filed a motion pursuant to I.C.R. 29 for judgment of acquittal on all charges and a separate motion for new trial. The district court issued a memorandum decision denying the motion for acquittal and denying a new trial on the delivery counts, but granting a new trial on the two conspiracy counts because it did not instruct the jury that a mistake of law is a defense to conspiracy.
Goggin timely appeals the order denying her motion to acquit and denying her motion for a new trial on the delivery charges. The State cross-appeals from the order granting a new trial on the conspiracy charges.
ISSUES ON APPEAL
I. Did the district court err when it denied Goggin's motion to acquit for insufficient evidence?
II. Did the district court err when it denied Goggin's motion for a new trial on the delivery charges?
III. Did the district court err when it granted Goggin's motion for a new trial on the conspiracy charges?
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Court reviews a trial court's ruling on a motion for acquittal for substantial evidence. State v. Adamcik, 152 Idaho 445, 460, 272 P.3d 417, 432 (2012). The Court reviews a trial court's ruling on a motion for new trial for an abuse of discretion. State v. Cantu, 129 Idaho 673, 674, 931 P.2d 1191, 1192 (1997). The Court exercises free review over questions of law. Rhoades v. State, 149 Idaho 130, 132, 233 P.3d 61, 63 (2010).
On appeal, Goggin contends that the district court erred in denying her motion for acquittal. She argues in the alternative that the district court erred in denying her motion for a new trial on the delivery counts. The State cross-appeals, arguing that the district court erred in granting a new trial on the conspiracy counts. These issues will be addressed in turn.
A. Motion to Acquit
Goggin contends that the district court erred in denying her motion to acquit because there was insufficient evidence to support her convictions. Under I.C.R. 29, the district court may set aside a jury verdict and enter judgment of acquittal " if the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction."
The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to due process, and the U.S. Supreme Court has held that as a part of that due process, " no person shall be made to suffer the onus of a criminal conviction except upon sufficient proof--defined as evidence necessary to convince a trier of fact beyond a reasonable doubt of the existence of every element of the offense."
Adamcik, 152 Idaho at 460, 272 P.3d at 432 (quoting Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 316, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560, (1979)). Nonetheless, " [a]ppellate review of the sufficiency of the evidence is limited in scope." State v. Herrera-Brito, 131 Idaho 383, 385, 957 P.2d 1099, 1101 (Ct. App. 1998).
The relevant inquiry is not whether this Court would find the defendant to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but whether 'after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt."
Adamcik, 152 Idaho at 460, 272 P.3d at 432 (quoting Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319) (emphasis in original).
Thus, " the only inquiry for this Court is whether there is substantial evidence upon which a reasonable jury could have found that the State met its burden of proving the essential elements" of the charged crimes " beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. " Evidence is substantial if a reasonable trier of fact would accept it and rely upon it in determining whether a disputed point of fact has been prove[n]." State v. Severson, 147 Idaho 694, 712, 215 P.3d 414, 432 (2009). In conducting its analysis, " the Court is required to consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the State," but will not substitute its " judgment for that of the jury on issues of witness credibility, weight of the evidence, or reasonable inferences to be drawn from the evidence." Adamcik, 152 Idaho at 460, 272 P.3d at 432.
Here, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, there is substantial evidence in the record to support Goggin's convictions. The statute under which Goggin was convicted for delivery of a controlled substance provides that " [e]xcept as authorized . .., it is unlawful for any person to . . . deliver . . . a controlled substance." I.C. § 37-2732(a). The statute under which Goggin was convicted for delivery of drug paraphernalia provides that " [i]t is unlawful for any person to deliver . . . drug paraphernalia, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that it will be used to . . . ingest . . . a controlled substance." I.C. § 37-2734B.
Goggin's conspiracy convictions were based on two statutes: Idaho Code section 18-1701 and Idaho Code section 37-2732 (f). ...