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State v. Sams

Court of Appeals of Idaho

September 12, 2016

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
SCOTT JEFFERY SAMS, Defendant-Appellant.

         2016 Opinion No. 60

         Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Lynn G. Norton, District Judge.

         Judgment of conviction for disturbing the peace, affirmed.

          Eric D. Fredericksen, Interim State Appellate Public Defender; Ben P. McGreevy, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; John C. McKinney, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

          GRATTON, Judge

         Scott Jeffery Sams appeals from the judgment of conviction finding him guilty of disturbing the peace.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Sams invited an acquaintance ("T.O.") that he had previously met online to his home for a couple nights. Sams testified that during this visit he noticed a box of his expensive prescription medication was missing. He confronted T.O., who denied taking the missing pills. Two different accounts on what transpired thereafter were presented at trial.

         T.O. testified that Sams had a knife and he told T.O. he was going to "gut me like a pig." Sams told T.O. to strip naked, and he complied. Sams then threatened to kill him and lunged at him with the knife. T.O. tried to get the knife away from Sams and when he succeeded, Sams started to scream for help.

         Sams testified that T.O. stripped naked to show he did not take anything and then turned violent and began to shake and hit Sams. Sams then grabbed a knife off a shelf. Sams told T.O. to leave the house and the two struggled over the knife as T.O. attacked him. T.O. took control of the knife when Sams screamed for help and caused injury as he held it to Sams' chin.

         After the altercation, T.O. left the house through the front door while Sams went into the garage to get a shovel and subsequently threw T.O.'s clothes out of the house. Sams' roommate testified that he was in the living room when Sams returned from the garage and Sams then accused the roommate of taking the pills. The roommate then locked himself in his room and called 911. Police arrived and walked Sams' roommate out of the house and detained and questioned T.O. Thereafter there was a lengthy standoff between the police and Sams that lasted approximately five hours before Sams exited the home and was taken into custody. Introduction of evidence relating to this standoff is the basis of this appeal.

         The State charged Sams with felony aggravated assault, Idaho Code §§ 18-901(b) and 18-905(a), and felony use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime, I.C. § 19-2520. The jury acquitted Sams on the felony charges but found him guilty of the lesser-included offense of misdemeanor disturbing the peace. The district court sentenced Sams to 180 days in jail with credit for 107 days served and suspended the balance. The court placed him on supervised probations for two years. Sams timely appealed.

         II. ANALYSIS

         After jury selection, Sams' counsel asked the district court to prohibit the State from presenting evidence relating to the standoff that occurred between Sams and the police. The court initially held the evidence relating to the standoff was admissible under Idaho Rule of Evidence § 404(b) for the purpose of showing proof of "identity or the absence of mistake or accident." Sams countered that if the evidence was going to be admitted pursuant to I.R.E. § 404(b), he was ...


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