Opinion No. 13
from the District Court of the Third Judicial District, State
of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. Bradly S. Ford, District Judge.
denying I.C.R. 35 motion for reduction of sentence,
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Maya P.
Waldron, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Mark W. Olson, Deputy
Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
Anthony Thomas appeals from the district court's order
denying Thomas's I.C.R. 35 motion for reduction of
sentence. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
pled guilty to lewd conduct for sexually abusing his
daughter, who was under the age of sixteen. I.C. §
18-1508. On June 2, 2014, the district court sentenced Thomas
to a unified term of fifteen years, with a minimum period of
confinement of five years, but retained jurisdiction for a
period of 365 days. The district court filed the judgment of
conviction ten days later. On June 18, 2015, the district
court entered an order confirming that Thomas's period of
retained jurisdiction had automatically expired by operation
of law because more than 365 days had elapsed since
Thomas's sentence had been imposed. Thomas filed a motion
requesting appointment of counsel for the purpose of pursuing
relief under Rule 35, which the district court granted. On
October 8, 2015, Thomas filed his Rule 35(b) motion for
reduction of sentence. Following a hearing, the district
court denied Thomas's Rule 35(b) motion finding that it
had been filed more than 120 days after Thomas's period
of retained jurisdiction expired. Thomas appeals.
motion for reduction of sentence under Rule 35 is essentially
a plea for leniency, addressed to the sound discretion of the
court. State v. Knighton, 143 Idaho 318, 319, 144
P.3d 23, 24 (2006); State v. Allbee, 115 Idaho 845,
846, 771 P.2d 66, 67 (Ct. App. 1989). The filing limitations
provided by Rule 35 are a jurisdictional limit on the
authority of the court to consider the motion and, unless
filed within the period, a district court lacks jurisdiction
to grant any relief. State v. Sutton, 113 Idaho 832,
833, 748 P.2d 416, 417 (Ct. App. 1987).
argues the district court erred in finding that Thomas's
Rule 35 motion for reduction of sentence was untimely.
Specifically, Thomas contends that the district court
erroneously calculated the date on which Thomas's period
of retained jurisdiction expired by using the date of the
pronouncement of sentence to calculate the timeliness of the
Rule 35 motion. In support, Thomas asserts that the relevant
statute, I.C. § 19-2601(4), is ambiguous and that
legislative history and the statute's underlying purpose
show that a period of retained jurisdiction runs from the
filing of the written judgment of conviction and not from the
date of the pronouncement of sentence. Consequently, Thomas
argues that, when properly calculated from the judgment of
conviction filing date, his period of retained jurisdiction
expired 118 days prior to his filing the Rule 35(b) motion,
thus rendering his motion timely. Conversely, the State
argues the plain language of Rule 35(b) and I.C. §
19-2601(4) provide that a period of retained jurisdiction
expires 365 days after the district court pronounces
sentence, not 365 days after a sentencing court subsequently
enters the judgment of conviction. Consequently, the State
contends the district court correctly found that Thomas's
period of retained jurisdiction automatically expired on June
2, 2015, and that Thomas's Rule 35(b) motion, filed 128
days later, was untimely.
relevant provisions at issue on appeal are I.C.R. 35(b) and
I.C. § 19-2601(4). Idaho Criminal Rule 35(b) provides
that a district court has discretion to consider and act upon
a motion filed within 120 days after the filing of a judgment
of conviction or within 120 days after the court releases
retained jurisdiction. Retained jurisdiction automatically
terminates upon the expiration of the defined period
specified in I.C. § 19-2601(4). See State v.
Taylor, 142 Idaho 30, 31, 121 P.3d 961, 962 (2005);
State v. Ward, 150 Idaho 446, 448, 247 P.3d 673, 675
(Ct. App. 2010). As such, Thomas's Rule 35(b) motion was
required to be filed within 120 days of the date on which his
period of retained jurisdiction automatically expired.
a sentencing court's jurisdiction ends once the
sentencing court orders a defendant into the custody of the
Board of Correction. State v. Williams, 126 Idaho
39, 43, 878 P.2d 213, 217 (Ct. App. 1994). However, I.C.
§ 19-2601(4) creates an exception to the general rule.
Specifically, I.C. § 19-2601(4) provides, in relevant
Whenever any person shall have been convicted, or enter a
plea of guilty, in any district court of the state of Idaho,
of or to any crime against the laws of the state, except
those of ...