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Carr v. Pridgen

Supreme Court of Idaho

September 26, 2014

BRAD C. CARR, Plaintiff-Respondent,

2014 Opinion No. 103.

Page 579

Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Kathryn A. Sticklen, Senior Judge. Hon. Terry R. McDaniel, Magistrate Judge.

The decision of the district court is reversed. This case is remanded to the district court with instructions to remand to the magistrate court to vacate the judgment of conviction.

Rainey Law Office, Boise, for appellant. Rebecca A. Rainey argued.

Bauer & French, Boise, for respondent. Charles Bauer argued.

HORTON, Justice. Chief Justice BURDICK and Justices EISMANN, J. JONES and W. JONES, CONCUR.


Page 580

[157 Idaho 240] HORTON, Justice.

This is an appeal from the district court sitting in its appellate capacity. The district court affirmed the magistrate court's judgment, which held that the appellant, Crystal Edgar, was guilty of two counts of indirect contempt. We reverse.


Edgar and Carr are the parents of D.C., a minor child born in 2003. Edgar and Carr were never married. Both Edgar and Carr have served in the Idaho National Guard since D.C.'s birth, resulting in custody disputes arising from the parties' deployments.

Edgar's contempt convictions arose from Carr's allegation that Edgar committed two separate violations of the parties' Parenting Plan, which was incorporated into the magistrate court's May 12, 2006, Order for Entry of Stipulation for Decree Regarding Paternity, Child Custody and Child Support (the May 12 Order). Carr's allegations related to two discrete disputes. The first related to the school D.C. would attend for the 2010 school year. In the summer of 2010, the parties could not agree on which school D.C. would attend. They mediated the issue, but were unable to reach a resolution. In August of 2010, Edgar unilaterally enrolled D.C. at Pepper Ridge Elementary School (Pepper Ridge) without receiving Carr's assent or seeking judicial resolution of the issue.

The second conflict dealt with Carr's request that D.C. visit him in Mississippi. Prior to being deployed to Iraq for one year, Carr was receiving pre-deployment training

Page 581

[157 Idaho 241] in Mississippi. Carr had a visitation window prior to deployment and asked Edgar if D.C. could make the trip to Mississippi. Edgar denied the request.

On August 4, 2011, Carr filed Plaintiff's Motion for Non-Summary Contempt Pursuant to I.R.C.P 75(c). Carr's motion asked the magistrate court to hold Edgar in contempt for failure to obey the May 12 Order. Carr submitted an affidavit in support of his motion. Carr's affidavit alleged three counts of contempt; however, Count II was dismissed and is not relevant to this appeal. As to Count I, Carr's affidavit alleged: " In violation of Paragraph 9[1] of Parenting Plan in May 12, 2006 Order: School started about three (3) weeks after I left Boise for pre-deployment training in Mississippi and at that time, [Edgar] enrolled [D.C.] in the school closest to her new home ...." As to Count III, Carr's affidavit alleged: " In violation of Paragraph 15[2] of Parenting Plan in May 12, 2006 Order: Once I had completed my pre-deployment training, I had an opportunity to visit with family before I was deployed to Iraq. I made arrangements for [D.C.] to travel with my wife to be with me, however, [Edgar] unreasonably denied permission for him to travel out of state to be with me before I was deployed to the war zone." Carr's affidavit also alleged that Edgar was served with a copy and had actual notice of the contents of the May 12 Order.

On November 3, 2011, the magistrate court heard Carr's contempt motion. At the conclusion of the hearing, the magistrate court found Edgar guilty of contempt as charged in Counts I and III. On Count I, the magistrate court sentenced Edgar to five days jail, suspended, a $5,000 fine, suspended, and placed her on two years unsupervised probation. On Count III, the magistrate court sentenced Edgar to three days in jail, to be served immediately.

More than a month later, and after Edgar had completed serving her jail time, the magistrate court entered its Judgment of Contempt and found that Edgar " willfully violated the court order that specifically provided that decisions concerning which school [D.C.] would attend be made jointly by the parties." The magistrate court also concluded that Edgar " blatantly breached her obligation of good faith and fair dealing when she summarily denied [Carr's] last chance to see his son before being sent to a war zone where many fathers have not returned."

On November 28, 2011, Edgar filed a notice of appeal from the magistrate court's judgment. On February 22, 2013, the district court issued its Memorandum Decision and affirmed the magistrate court's decision. On April 5, 2013, Edgar timely appealed from ...

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