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State v. Smith

Court of Appeals of Idaho

August 10, 2016

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DANIEL JOSEPH SMITH, Defendant-Appellant.

         2016 Opinion No. 55

         Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Samuel A. Hoagland, District Judge.

         Order denying motion for appointment of counsel and reduction of sentence, affirmed.

          Eric D. Fredericksen, Interim State Appellate Public Defender; Brian R. Dickson, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

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

          GUTIERREZ, Judge.

         Daniel Joseph Smith appeals from the district court's order denying his Idaho Criminal Rule 35 motion for reduction of sentence. He argues the district court erred by not appointing counsel to represent him in pursuing the motion; or alternatively, the court abused its discretion by denying his motion on the merits. We affirm.

         I.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Smith pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine, Idaho Code § 37-2732(c). The district court imposed a unified sentence of seven years, with a minimum period of confinement of three years. Smith filed a motion for appointment of counsel and Idaho Criminal Rule 35 motion for reduction of sentence. The district court denied the request for appointment of counsel, finding that the Rule 35 motion was not a proceeding that a reasonable person with adequate means would be willing to bring at his or her own expense, and therefore was frivolous. The district court also denied Smith's Rule 35 motion on the merits. Smith timely appeals

         II.

         ANALYSIS

         Smith claims the district court erred in denying his request for appointment of counsel. Alternatively, he argues that the district court abused its discretion in denying his Rule 35 motion for reduction of his sentence. We address each issue in turn.

         A. Appointment of Counsel

         Smith contends the district court erred in denying his request for appointment of counsel on the grounds that his Rule 35 motion was frivolous. A criminal defendant has the statutory right to counsel at all critical stages of the criminal process, including pursuit of a Rule 35 motion. I.C. §§ 19-851, 19-852; I.C.R. 44; State v. Wade, 125 Idaho 522, 523, 873 P.2d 167, 168 (Ct. App. 1994). However, a district court may deny appointment of counsel if the Rule 35 motion is frivolous or one that a reasonable person with adequate means would not be willing to bring at his or her own expense. I.C. ยง 19-852(2)(c). The question of whether a ...


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