Opinion No. 49
from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Jason D. Scott, District
of conviction for attempted first degree arson and being a
persistent violator of the law, affirmed in part, vacated in
part, and remanded for resentencing.
D. Fredericksen, Interim State Appellate Public Defender;
Erik R. Lehtinen, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise,
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Ted S. Tollefson,
Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
MELANSON, CHIEF JUDGE
Nathaniel Harris appeals from his judgment of conviction for
attempted first degree arson and being a persistent violator
of the law. Specifically, Harris alleges that the state did
not provide sufficient evidence for the jury to find Harris
was a persistent violator of the law. For the reasons set
forth below, we affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand
was charged with attempted first degree arson and being a
persistent violator. Harris proceeded to trial and was found
guilty by a jury of attempted first degree arson. I.C.
§§ 18-802 and 18-306. The jury also found that
Harris was a persistent violator. I.C. § 19-2514. The
district court sentenced Harris to a unified term of
seventeen years, with a minimum period of confinement of five
years. Harris appeals, challenging the finding that he is a
persistent violator of the law.
the jury's finding that Harris was guilty of attempted
first degree arson, the jury was then asked to determine
whether Harris was a persistent violator of the law pursuant
to I.C. § 19-2514. That section provides:
Any person convicted for the third time of the commission of
a felony, whether the previous convictions were had within
the state of Idaho or were had outside the state of Idaho,
shall be considered a persistent violator of law, and on such
third conviction shall be sentenced to a term in the custody
of the state board of correction which term shall be for not
less than five (5) years and said term may extend to life.
state presented evidence, through the introduction of three
documents, that Harris was previously convicted of possession
of a controlled substance, trafficking in methamphetamine,
and delivery of methamphetamine. The documents showed that
Harris's conviction for possession of a controlled
substance was a felony. However, nothing in the documents
indicated that the trafficking in methamphetamine or delivery
of methamphetamine convictions were felonies.
concedes the state provided evidence he committed one prior
felony. However, Harris argues that the state failed to
present evidence that he committed a second prior felony.
Thus, Harris alleges there was not sufficient evidence for
the jury to find he was a persistent violator of the law.
Appellate review of the sufficiency of the evidence is
limited in scope. A finding of guilt will not be overturned
on appeal where there is substantial evidence upon which a
reasonable trier of fact could have found that the
prosecution sustained its burden of proving the essential
elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. State v.
Herrera-Brito, 131 Idaho 383, 385, 957 P.2d 1099, 1101
(Ct. App. 1998); State v. Knutson, 121 Idaho 101,
104, 822 P.2d 998, 1001 (Ct. App. 1991). We will not
substitute our view for that of the trier of fact as to the
credibility of the witnesses, the weight to be given to the
testimony, and the reasonable inferences to be drawn from the
evidence. Knutson, 121 Idaho at 104, 822 P.2d at
1001; State v. Decker, 108 Idaho 683, 684,
701 P.2d 303, 304 (Ct. App. 1985). Moreover, we will consider
the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution.
Herrera-Brito, 131 Idaho at 385, 957 P.2d at 1101;
Knutson, 121 Idaho at 104, 822 P.2d at 1001.
former convictions relied upon to invoke the persistent
violator enhancement must be alleged in the indictment or
information and be proved at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.
State v. Miller, 151 Idaho 828, 832-33, 264 P.3d
935, 939-40 (2011); State v. Medrain, 143 Idaho 329,
332, 144 P.3d 34, 37 (Ct. App. 2006); State v.
Cheatham, 139 Idaho 413, 416, 80 P.3d 349, 352 (Ct. App.
2003); State v. Martinez, 102 Idaho 875, 880, 643
P.2d 555, 560 (Ct. App. 1982). The state bears the burden of
identifying the defendant as the same individual identified
in the prior convictions. State v. Lovejoy, 60 Idaho
632, 637, 95 P.2d 132, 134 (1939); Medrain, 143
Idaho at 332, 144 P.3d at 37. The state also has the burden
of identifying the prior crimes as felonies. State v.
Pacheco, 134 Idaho 367, 372, 2 P.3d 752, 757 (Ct. App.
2000); State v. Smith, 116 Idaho 553, 560, 777 P.2d
1226, 1233 (Ct. App. 1989). The state may satisfy the latter
burden by producing copies of judgments specifically
identifying the crimes as felonies or, if the judgments were
not so specific, by offering admissible copies of the felony
statutes applicable to the crimes recited in the judgments.
Smith, 116 Idaho at 560, 777 P.2d at 1233.
judgments of conviction did not specify whether trafficking
in methamphetamine or delivery of methamphetamine were
felonies, and no other evidence in the record answers that
question. The state did not introduce copies of the
applicable statutes which could have identified the offenses
state argues that, despite its failure to provide explicit
evidence that trafficking in methamphetamine and delivery of
methamphetamine were felonies, it provided sufficient
evidence for the jury to make a ...