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State v. Schall

Supreme Court of Idaho

October 29, 2014

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
GARY L. SCHALL, Defendant-Appellant

2014 Opinion No. 115.

Page 648

Appeal from the District Court of the Sixth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Bannock County. Hon. Stephen Dunn, District Judge.

The decision of the district court is affirmed.

Sara B. Thomas, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Shawn F. Wilkerson argued.

Honorable Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Daphne J. Huang argued.

J. JONES, Justice. Chief Justice BURDICK, and Justices EISMANN and HORTON and Justice Pro Tem KIDWELL CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 649

[157 Idaho 490] J. JONES, Justice

Gary Schall was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Schall had two prior convictions for driving under the influence within the previous ten years, one of which stemmed from a 2004 arrest in Wyoming. As a result of his prior convictions, the State enhanced his DUI charge to a felony pursuant to Idaho Code section 18-8005(6). At Schall's preliminary hearing, the magistrate found that there was probable cause to bind the case over to district court. Schall filed a motion to dismiss in the district court, arguing that the State had the burden at the preliminary hearing to provide probable cause to believe his Wyoming DUI conviction was for a " substantially conforming foreign criminal violation," that the State failed to meet that burden, and that the Wyoming conviction was not in fact a substantially conforming violation. The district court denied Schall's motion, finding that the State met its burden at the preliminary hearing and that the Wyoming statute substantially conformed to Idaho's DUI statute. Schall appealed the district court's denial of his motion to dismiss and the Court of Appeals reversed. The State then petitioned this Court for review, which we granted.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On August 8, 2011, Gary Schall was arrested for driving under the influence in violation of Idaho Code section 18-8004(1)(a). The State's complaint included an enhancement which elevated the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony under Idaho Code section 18-8005(6). That provision states that a person who is guilty of violating Idaho Code section 18-8004(1) and " who previously has been found guilty of . . . two (2) or more violations of [I.C. § 18-8004(1)(a), (b), or (c)] or any substantially conforming foreign criminal violation, or any combination thereof, within ten (10) years . . . shall be guilty of a felony." I.C. § 18-8005(6). At the time of his arrest, Schall had two prior DUI convictions within the last ten years: a November 2004 conviction in Idaho and a September 2004 conviction in Wyoming.

The State offered self-authenticating, certified records of Schall's two prior DUI convictions at the preliminary hearing, with no objection from Schall. At the close of the preliminary hearing, Schall moved to dismiss, arguing that the State did not provide probable cause to believe he committed the felony offense because there was inadequate reason to believe the Wyoming statute under which he received his DUI conviction substantially conformed to Idaho's DUI statute. Schall argued that it was the State's burden at the preliminary hearing to place the Wyoming statute into evidence and demonstrate that the statute substantially conformed to Idaho's. The magistrate disagreed, holding that once records of conviction were admitted, " it becomes the burden of the defendant to show that the statute is non-complying and that . . . should be done at the district court level." Ultimately, the magistrate bound the case over to district court, finding that the State made a prima facie case.

In the district court, Schall filed a motion to dismiss, making the same argument he did below--that the State failed to show probable cause because it did not demonstrate that the Wyoming statute substantially conformed to the Idaho statute. In the alternative, Schall argued that the Wyoming statute did not substantially conform to the Idaho statute. The district court denied Schall's motion to dismiss. It found that the State was not required to show probable cause at the preliminary hearing that the Wyoming DUI statute substantially conformed to Idaho's. It also found, however, that the Wyoming statute does in fact substantially conform to Idaho's. Thereafter, Schall entered a conditional guilty plea to felony DUI, reserving the right to appeal " the decision on defendant's motion to dismiss/challenge bind over." The district court imposed a unified sentence of five years, with two years fixed, but suspended the sentence and placed Schall on probation. Schall timely appealed.

Page 650

[157 Idaho 491] The Court of Appeals reversed the district court and remanded for further proceedings. It held that the State had the burden at the preliminary hearing to provide probable cause to believe that the Wyoming DUI statute substantially conformed to Idaho's statute and that the State failed to carry that burden. This Court granted the State's petition for review. The only issue on appeal is whether the district court erred in denying Schall's motion to dismiss ...


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