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Cook v. State

Court of Appeals of Idaho

September 2, 2014

SEAN M. COOK, Petitioner-Respondent,
v.
STATE OF IDAHO, Respondent-Appellant

2014 Opinion No. 70

Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. John R. Stegner, District Judge.

Judgment granting petition for post-conviction relief, vacated.

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

Daniel G. Cooper, Coeur d'Alene, for respondent.

MELANSON, Judge. Judge LANSING and Judge GRATTON, CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 1180

MELANSON, Judge

The state appeals from the district court's judgment granting Sean M. Cook's petition for post-conviction relief. For the reasons set forth below, we vacate the judgment.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

In the underlying criminal case, a jury found Cook guilty of rape, I.C. § 18-6101. The district court sentenced Cook to a unified term of thirty years, with a minimum

Page 1181

period of confinement of ten years. The district court granted Cook's subsequent I.C.R. 35 motion, reducing his sentence to a unified term of twenty years, with a minimum period of confinement of ten years. Cook then appealed from the judgment of conviction and this Court affirmed in an unpublished opinion. See State v. Cook, Docket No. 36145.[1]

Cook filed a petition for post-conviction relief, asserting several claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct. The district court summarily dismissed several of the claims, but held an evidentiary hearing on two of Cook's ineffective assistance of counsel claims. Specifically, Cook alleged that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the admission of testimony that Cook had threatened a witness's family and testimony regarding the victim's out-of-court statements. An experienced defense attorney testified as an expert witness for Cook, asserting that Cook's trial counsel had provided ineffective assistance that affected the outcome of the trial. Cook's trial counsel testified for the state, offering his trial strategy in declining to object to admission of the disputed testimony. Following the hearing, the district court determined that Cook's trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to both instances of disputed testimony because both were likely inadmissible and there was a ...


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