2016, Opinion No. 154
from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District of the
State of Idaho, in and for Twin Falls County. Hon. Randy J.
Stoker, District Judge.
judgment of the district court is affirmed.
A. Benjamin; Nevin, Benjamin, McKay & Bartlett, LLP;
Boise; argued for appellant.
Jessica M. Lorello, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, argued
an appeal from the dismissal of a petition for
post-conviction relief asserting that the Defendant's
trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to
file a motion to suppress evidence. Because no such motion
would have been successful, we affirm the judgment of the
Deforest Padilla was convicted of two counts of grand theft
and was found to be a persistent violator. He appealed his
conviction, and it was affirmed by the Idaho Court of Appeals
in an unpublished opinion. He later timely filed a petition
for post-conviction relief, contending that his attorney
provided ineffective assistance in failing to file a motion
to suppress. The district court held a hearing and denied his
petition. Mr. Padilla appealed again, and the Idaho Court of
Appeals vacated the judgment dismissing his petition and
remanded the case for further factual findings by the
district court. The district court made further findings and
again denied Mr. Padilla's petition. Mr. Padilla again
appealed and the appeal was heard by the Idaho Court of
Appeals, which affirmed the district court. Mr. Padilla filed
a petition for review with this Court, which we granted. In
cases that come before this Court on a petition for review of
a decision of the Court of Appeals, we do not review the
decision of the Court of Appeals. We hear the case anew as if
the appeal had initially came directly to this Court.
State v. Suriner, 154 Idaho 81, 83, 294 P.3d 1093,
1095 (2013). We heard the appeal anew, and we affirm the
August 7, 2011, at about 2:00 a.m., Mr. Padilla was walking
down an alley when a police car pulled up with its headlights
off. The officer turned on the car's headlights and
turned the vehicle so that Mr. Padilla could see that it was
a clearly marked police car. After stopping the car, the
officer began getting out, and Mr. Padilla turned and began
running away. The officer shouted several times for Mr.
Padilla to stop, but he kept running. The officer ran after
him. Mr. Padilla ran between some houses and jumped over a
fence, twisting his ankle when he landed and fell to the
ground. As he lay in the bushes where he had fallen, he
tossed everything that he did not want found on him into the
bushes. Those items included a stolen credit card and pieces
of a spark plug, which can be used to break into vehicles.
Another officer heard the first officer's radio call for
assistance, and he located Mr. Padilla where he had fallen.
He immediately handcuffed Mr. Padilla and patted him down for
weapons, but did not feel anything that felt like a weapon.
When the first officer arrived, he searched the area where
Mr. Padilla had been and found a credit card issued to a Mr.
Mauch, some money, and the pieces of the spark plug, which he
knew from his training and experience could be used to break
into vehicles. He observed that all of these items were clean
and appeared to have been recently placed there. The officer
then searched Mr. Padilla's person and found two other
credit cards belonging to a Ms. Labrum and more pieces of a
the District Court Err in Dismissing Padilla's Petition
for Post-Conviction Relief?
"To prove ineffective assistance of counsel, the
defendant must prove that counsel's performance was
deficient and that this deficient performance prejudiced the
defendant's case." Pierce v. State, 142
Idaho 32, 34, 121 P.3d 963, 965 (2005). "To prevail on
such a claim, the applicant for post-conviction relief must
demonstrate (1) counsel's performance fell below an
objective standard of reasonableness, and (2) there is a
reasonable probability that, but for counsel's errors,
the result would have been different." State v.
Payne, 146 Idaho 548, 561, 199 P.3d 123, 136 (2008).
"Judicial scrutiny of counsel's performance must be
highly deferential. . . . Because of the difficulties
inherent in making the evaluation, a court must indulge a
strong presumption that counsel's conduct falls within
the wide range of reasonable professional assistance . . .
." Strickland v. Washington, ...