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State v. Kralovec

Supreme Court of Idaho

January 23, 2017

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
THOMAS JOHN KRALOVEC, Defendant-Appellant.

         2017 Opinion No. 3

         Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Jason D. Scott, District Judge. Hon. Renae Hoff, Senior District Judge.

         The judgment of conviction is affirmed.

          Nevin, Benjamin, McKay & Bartlett, LLP, Boise, for appellant. Dennis Benjamin argued.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Kenneth K. Jorgensen argued.

          HORTON, Justice.

         Thomas Kralovec appeals from his judgment of conviction for one count of battery on a correctional officer. I.C. §§ 18-915(2) and 18-903. We affirm.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On February 6, 2014, Kralovec was arrested by Boise City Officer Tad Miller for public intoxication and resisting and obstructing arrest. While he was being transported to jail, Kralovec was antagonistic. He cursed, insulted, and threatened Officer Miller. Upon arrival at the jail, Kralovec was met by Deputies Gary Ambrosek, Ralph Thompson, Luis Torres, and Richard Michaelson and taken to a holding cell.

         Kralovec remained combative and non-compliant during the intake process. The four deputies took turns restraining Kralovec to search him and remove his handcuffs so that he could be left alone in the cell. The deputies placed Kralovec on a concrete bench in the cell in a prone position with his legs in a "figure four leg trap" with his face to the wall. At some point during the search, Kralovec's right leg came free and kicked out, knocking a microphone loose from the clip on Deputy Ambrosek's shirt and allegedly striking Deputy Michaelson in the shoulder. The incident was recorded by a camera in the holding cell. It is undisputed that Deputy Michaelson's shoulder was injured at some point during the incident; however, the parties disagree as to the cause of the injury.

         On April 30, 2014, the State filed an information charging Kralovec with one count of battery on a peace officer under Idaho Code sections 18-915(3) and 18-903(a) for striking Deputy Michaelson. On October 3, 2014, the State filed an amended information charging Kralovec with battery on a correctional officer in violation of Idaho Code sections 18-915(2) and 18-903.

         On July 2, 2014, the State filed notice of its intent to introduce audio evidence of Kralovec's arrest and transport to jail to show Kralovec's knowledge and intent pursuant to Idaho Rule of Evidence 404(b). Kralovec objected, arguing that the evidence was either not relevant, or its probative value was substantially outweighed by its prejudicial effect. The district court concluded that the evidence was res gestae evidence temporally connected with the alleged battery and had a tendency to explain Kralovec's alleged misbehavior during the booking process. The district court further concluded that the evidence was admissible under Idaho Rule of Evidence 404(b) as it was relevant to Kralovec's intent.

         Kralovec's jury trial took place on October 6-8, 2014. Prior to the trial, Judge Jason Scott had presided over the proceedings; however, Senior Judge Renae Hoff presided over the trial. During the trial, the State presented testimony from Officer Miller and Deputies Michaelson, Torres, Thompson, and Ambrosek, photographic and video evidence taken from the holding cell, and an audio recording from Kralovec's transport to the jail. The jury found Kralovec guilty of battery on Deputy Michaelson.

         Following the jury trial, a hearing was held on October 24, 2014, before Judge Scott. The record does not contain a transcript of the hearing, but the court minutes show that Kralovec requested "for Judge Hoff to do sentencing or in alternative this Court listen to the audio of the [jury trial]." The State responded that "[a]ll info this Court needs will be in PSI, [Defendant] can argue at sentencing any evidence." The district court denied the motion to have Judge Hoff handle the sentencing hearing; however, the court indicated that Kralovec was free to file a written motion if he wanted. The court minutes are silent as to the disposition of Kralovec's request for Judge Scott to listen to the audio recordings of the jury trial.

         Sentencing was held on November 14, 2014. Prior to receiving arguments from the parties, Judge Scott inquired if either party wished to submit any further evidence regarding sentencing. Neither party submitted additional evidence. The district court imposed a suspended five-year sentence, with one year fixed, and placed Kralovec on probation for five years. After the sentence was pronounced, Kralovec's counsel inquired as to the materials Judge Scott had reviewed prior to sentencing. Judge Scott explained:

THE COURT: I have reviewed the entirety of the presentence investigation report, and there is an addendum to the presentence report dated November 13 of this year. I have reviewed those items.
And I have my preexisting familiarity with the case from the matters that were brought in front of me and in the course of the rulings I made. I will acknowledge that I have not reviewed the trial transcript.
[KRALOVEC'S COUNSEL]: Has Your Honor reviewed ...

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