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Bias v. State

Court of Appeals of Idaho

November 20, 2015

MITCHELL JAMES BIAS, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IDAHO, Respondent

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2015 Opinion No. 78

Appeal from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Minidoka County. Hon. Michael R. Crabtree, District Judge.

Order of the district court summarily dismissing petition for post-conviction relief, affirmed in part, reversed in part, and case remanded; order regarding petitioner's post-judgment motions, affirmed.

Greg S. Silvey, Star, for appellant.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Lori A. Fleming, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

Chief Judge MELANSON and Judge HUSKEY CONCUR.

OPINION

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GUTIERREZ, Judge.

Mitchell James Bias appeals from the district court's order summarily dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Bias was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary. Idaho Code § 18-1701. He filed an appeal challenging his sentence, which this Court affirmed. State v. Bias, Docket No. 40870, (Ct.App. Feb. 25, 2014) (unpublished). While the appeal was pending, Bias filed a verified pro se petition and supporting affidavit for post-conviction relief. In his petition, he made numerous claims regarding ineffective assistance of trial counsel and prosecutorial misconduct. He then filed a motion for the appointment of counsel, which the district court granted. In response to the State's answer and motion for summary dismissal of

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the petition for post-conviction relief, Bias's appointed counsel filed responsive briefing and additional supporting affidavits. After considering the parties' briefing and supporting materials, the district court granted the State's motion and entered a judgment of dismissal. The court dismissed all of Bias's ineffective assistance of counsel claims and his Brady [1] claim as bare and conclusory. It also dismissed Bias's claims of prosecutorial misconduct as waived.

Ten days after the court entered its judgment summarily dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief, Bias filed a pro se " Motion to Set Aside Judgment to Dismiss Petitioner's Post-Conviction Petition." In deciding whether to treat Bias's ambiguous motion under Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) or 60(b), the court considered the substance of the motion. The majority of Bias's motion consisted of arguments opposing the court's legal conclusions as to his post-conviction petition. But, it also contained allegations that Bias had received ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel. The court acknowledged that although Bias's allegations of ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel " could be construed as new information," the allegations were merely " extraneous" because such claims did not provide sufficient grounds for relief under existing case law. The court treated the motion as a motion to alter or amend the judgment under ...


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