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State v. Griffith

Court of Appeals of Idaho

October 20, 2014

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
CHRISTOPHER D. GRIFFITH, Defendant-Appellant

2014 Opinion No. 87.

Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bonneville County. Hon. Joel E. Tingey, District Judge.

Order denying motion to correct illegal sentence, affirmed.

Nevin, Benjamin, McKay & Bartlett, LLP; Dennis A. Benjamin, Boise, for appellant.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Jessica M. Lorello, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

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

OPINION

PER CURIAM

Christopher D. Griffith was convicted of first degree murder by aggravated battery in the death of a two-year-old, Idaho Code § 18-4003(d). He was sentenced to a unified life term of incarceration with twenty-two years fixed. Years later, Griffith filed an Idaho Criminal Rule 35 motion, arguing that the twenty-two-year fixed term of his sentence is illegal. The district court denied the Rule 35 motion and Griffith appeals.

Griffith argues that the twenty-two-year fixed term of his sentence is illegal because I.C. § § 18-4004 and 19-2513 require that the sentencing court impose a ten-year fixed term.

Griffith's argument is without merit. Idaho Code § § 18-4004 and 19-2513 grant trial courts discretion to impose a fixed term of not less than ten years for first degree murder. Section 18-107 specifies:

Whenever, in this code, the punishment for a crime is left undetermined between certain limits, the punishment to be inflicted in a particular case, must be determined by the court authorized to pass sentence within such limits as may be prescribed by this code.

Section 19-2513 states in part:

The court shall specify a minimum period of confinement and may specify a subsequent indeterminate period of custody. The court shall set forth in its judgment and sentence the minimum period of confinement and the subsequent indeterminate period, if any, provided, that the aggregate sentence shall not exceed the maximum provided by law. During a minimum term of confinement, the offender shall not be eligible for parole or discharge or credit or reduction of sentence for good conduct except for meritorious service except as provided in section 20-223(f), Idaho Code. The offender may ...

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