Opinion No. 19
from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Melissa Moody, District
vacated and case remanded.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Andrea W.
Reynolds, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Russell J. Spencer,
Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
Darnell Black appeals from his judgment of conviction after
pleading guilty to criminal possession of a financial
transaction card. He argues that the district court erred in
denying Black's request for a presentence psychological
evaluation and that his sentence is excessive. We remand for
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
reports of fraudulent use of credit cards, law enforcement
officers discovered that Black had obtained credit card
information from multiple individuals and used that
information to make numerous purchases. The State charged
Black with five counts of grand theft by possession of stolen
property, Idaho Code §§ 18-2403(4), 18-2407(1),
18-2409, and five counts of criminal possession of a
financial transaction card, I.C. §§ 18-3125,
18-3128. The State also filed an information alleging Black
was a persistent violator, I.C. § 19-2514.
to a plea agreement, Black pled guilty to one count of
criminal possession of a financial transaction card, I.C.
§§ 18-3125, 18-3128. In exchange, the State
dismissed the remaining charges against Black.
presentence investigation (PSI) was then conducted during
which an investigator inquired into Black's mental health
history. According to the PSI report, Black told the
investigator that Black considered his mental health status
"serious." He reported to having been previously
diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder and
to at least one previous suicide attempt. He also stated that
he had received treatment for depression and substance abuse,
including being admitted to a psychiatric institution. Black
expressed that he has experienced feelings of paranoia as
well as suicidal ideations, and when asked by the
investigator if Black wanted further psychiatric assessment,
Black responded affirmatively. Black's mental health
history was further illustrated in a letter written by
Black's mother, in which she wrote that Black has
experienced mental health issues since he was eight years
old. Black's aunt also wrote a letter indicating the
same. They both attested to Black being treated for auditory
hallucinations as a child.
his arrest for the current offense, and allegedly while
incarcerated elsewhere, Black received mental health
treatment from the jail and was prescribed medication for his
mental health. Prior to sentencing, an evaluator performed a
GAIN assessment on Black at the jail.
Black's answers during this assessment suggested the
presence of several clinical disorders including bipolar
disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, recurrent major
depressive disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD). The GAIN evaluator made no specific
recommendations as to Black except to state "given
current involvement, treatment should be coordinated with:
substance abuse treatment; physical health treatment; mental
health treatment; legal system involvement." A certified
counselor with the Department of Health and Welfare then
prepared a mental health examination report pursuant to I.C.
§ 19-2524. In that report, the counselor acknowledged
that Black may have a serious mental illness. In the
recommendation section, the report stated that because Black
was currently receiving mental health treatment through the
jail, no additional mental health treatment or assessments
were recommended. The PSI investigator did not make an
independent recommendation regarding a formal psychological
sentencing, Black filed a pro se motion for a psychological
evaluation pursuant to I.C. § 19-2522. In support of his
motion, Black argued that his mental condition would be a
significant factor at sentencing because he suffers from mild
mental retardation, depression, bipolar disorder, paranoia,
and anxiety. Black's counsel subsequently filed a motion
for a psychological evaluation, stating: "Defendant
alleges his mental health will be a significant factor at
sentencing. An issue to be addressed is to what extent if any
the Defendant has the ability to control his impulses."
The district court acknowledged only the motion filed by
counsel and denied the request, stating: "The Court has
no reason to believe that the Defendant's mental
condition will be a significant factor at sentencing. In
addition, good cause has not been shown."
sentencing, the court imposed a sentence of five years
determinate and ordered restitution in the amount of $934.
The court did not state any of the factors it relied upon in
fashioning its sentence. Black then filed an Idaho Criminal
Rule 35 motion for reduction of sentence, which the district
court denied. Black also filed a motion for credit for time
served pursuant to I.C. § 18-309. The district court
granted the motion and entered an amended judgment and
sentence, correcting the credit for time served. Black now
appeals, contending ...