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State v. Clark

Supreme Court of Idaho

December 21, 2016

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JAMES W. CLARK, Defendant-Appellant.

         2016 Opinion No. 151

         Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Gerald Schroeder, Senior District Judge; Hon. Kevin Swain, Magistrate Judge.

         The decision of the district court is affirmed.

          Alan Trimming, Ada County Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Adam C. Kimball argued.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Ted S. Tollefson argued.

          PER CURIAM

         This case comes to the Idaho Supreme Court on a petition for review of an Idaho Court of Appeals decision. James Clark was charged with misdemeanor trespass in the Idaho Industrial Commission office in Boise. At the close of the State's evidence at trial, Clark moved for a judgment of acquittal, which the court denied. The jury found Clark guilty and he appealed to the district court. The district court affirmed the denial of the acquittal motion and upheld the jury verdict. The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the judgment of acquittal should have been granted. The State sought, and we granted, review.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In August 2012, Mindy Montgomery, the director of the Industrial Commission, sent a letter to Clark stating:

In light of the repeated disruptive arguments and confrontations you have exhibited toward employees of the Idaho Industrial Commission while on Commission property, you are hereby notified that you are, effective immediately, barred from entering into or upon property occupied by the Idaho Industrial Commission.
Unless this bar is lifted earlier, your entry upon Commission property or into facilities occupied by the Commission at any time during the next twelve (12) months will constitute a trespass under the provisions of Idaho Code § 18-7008, paragraph 8.

         Clark admitted receiving the letter. Montgomery testified she was authorized to send trespass letters and supported this claim by describing her position, responsibilities, and experience.

         Montgomery sent an identical letter to Clark in August 2013, barring Clark from entering Industrial Commission properties for one year, until August 2014. Montgomery sent this letter to Clark using the facsimile number and mailing address on file for him. A fax confirmation sheet indicated that the letter went through to the facsimile number. With regard to the posted letter, the Industrial Commission did not receive any "return to sender" or other correspondence indicating that the mailing address was incorrect or that the letter had not been received by the addressee. While Clark denies receiving the second letter, a video posted to YouTube on September 25, 2013, nearly a month after the 2013 letter was sent, shows Clark holding up a letter from the Industrial Commission while saying, "I just received another one, also."

         On April 4, 2014, Clark entered the Industrial Commission's office in Boise and approached the front reception desk. At the time, Barbara Fox was working at the front reception desk as a customer service representative. She testified that she was authorized to ask people to leave the Industrial Commission premises. When approached by Clark, Fox reminded Clark he was banned from the property and directed him to leave. Fox showed Clark both the 2012 and 2013 letters barring him from Industrial Commission property. When Clark refused to leave, Fox told Clark she would push the police button located under her desk if he did not leave. Clark told Fox to push the button, which she did, activating the emergency alarm. Boise police officers were dispatched to the Industrial Commission to respond to the alarm. Clark remained in the building in the reception area for approximately five minutes until police officers arrived and then left the Industrial Commission to speak with the officers. Clark was charged with misdemeanor trespass pursuant to Idaho Code section 18-7008(8).

         At the close of the State's case at trial, Clark made a motion for a judgment of acquittal pursuant to Idaho Criminal Rule 29 ("Rule 29 Motion"), arguing the State failed to prove the trespass orders were made by an authorized agent and that Clark had been deprived of his due process right to petition the government for redress of grievances. The magistrate disagreed, finding there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find the Industrial Commission employees were authorized agents. The jury found Clark guilty of misdemeanor trespass. Clark appealed to the district court, which affirmed his conviction. Upon further appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed. The State timely petitioned this Court for review.

         II. ISSUES ON APPEAL

         1. Whether the district court erred in affirming the denial of Clark's motion for a judgment of acquittal.

         2. Whether Clark's due process rights were violated.

         III. ...


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