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State v. Eliasen

Supreme Court of Idaho

April 8, 2015

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DESIREE B. ELIASEN, Defendant-Appellant

2015 Opinion No. 39

Page 158

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

District court decision upholding second degree stalking conviction is affirmed.

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

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Jessica Lorello, Deputy Attorney General, argued.

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

OPINION

Page 159

J. JONES, Justice

This case comes to the Idaho Supreme Court from a petition for review of a Court of Appeals decision. This case arose after a jury found Desiree Eliasen guilty of misdemeanor stalking. Following the jury's verdict, Eliasen moved the magistrate court for a judgment of acquittal, which the magistrate court denied. Eliasen subsequently appealed to the Bannock County district court, asserting the State failed to prove the misdemeanor stalking elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Specifically, Eliasen argued the State failed to prove she engaged in " repeated acts" constituting a " course of conduct" under the statute. The district court upheld the jury's verdict and Eliasen appealed.

The Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed, and Eliasen then petitioned this Court for review. On review, Eliasen argues that there was insufficient evidence to show that she was guilty of misdemeanor stalking because she did not engage in separate instances of stalking. Instead, Eliasen asserts that her conduct was one continuous act and therefore insufficient to satisfy the " course of conduct" element under the misdemeanor stalking statute. We affirm the district court's decision upholding the jury's verdict.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On October 7, 2008, Eliasen was charged with one count of second degree stalking under Idaho Code section 18-7906. The victim was a Pocatello police officer's wife. On Friday, September 26, 2008, the victim left her home with her three-year-old daughter to run errands, including dropping off a donation at the Pocatello Goodwill store and stopping at Fred Meyer. As the victim pulled out of her driveway, she noticed a brown Chevy Blazer stopped in the middle of the road, pointing east. The victim stopped in the driveway momentarily to wait for the Blazer to proceed down the street. When the Blazer did not move, the victim backed out of her driveway and headed west.

The victim then noticed that the Blazer made a U-turn and started to head west, back towards the victim's home. Once the victim realized that the Blazer went past her home without stopping, the victim stopped paying attention to the Blazer's location. The victim traveled several blocks and made four turns before reaching the Goodwill store. As the victim pulled into the Goodwill parking lot, she noticed the Blazer turn in behind her. The victim parked, exited the vehicle, and carried her donations to the door where a Goodwill employee took the donations from her. During this time, the Blazer parked in the Goodwill parking lot but no one exited the vehicle.

The victim got back into her vehicle and proceeded to exit the Goodwill parking lot, stopping at a traffic light. At that point, the victim became concerned because she noticed that the Blazer was directly behind her at the light. When the light changed, the victim turned and the Blazer followed her. Instead of proceeding to Fred Meyer as intended, the victim made a right hand turn and the Blazer followed. At this time the victim became frightened and attempted to call her husband. The first call was unsuccessful, but the victim successfully contacted her husband on the second try and they decided she should meet him at the police station. The victim also communicated the Blazer's license plate number to her husband, who discovered that the vehicle was registered to Eliasen. The victim made three more turns and the Blazer followed her through each turn. It was not until the victim turned in front of the police station that the Blazer ceased following her.

Eliasen was subsequently charged with second degree stalking. On December 12, 2008, Eliasen moved to dismiss, arguing there was insufficient evidence to support the stalking charge because she only engaged in a single incident of following the victim that did not rise to a " course of conduct" as required under Idaho Code section 18-7906. The magistrate court denied the motion, concluding that the conduct in the ...


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