Opinion No. 25
from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Lynn G. Norton, District
summarily dismissing petition for post-conviction relief,
affirmed in part, reversed in part, and case remanded.
Horras, PA; Ellen N. Smith, Boise, for appellant.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; John C. McKinney,
Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
Eddington appeals from the district court's summary
dismissal of Eddington's petition for post-conviction
relief. Eddington specifically argues the district court
erred in summarily dismissing Eddington's claims that his
trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance. Additionally,
Eddington maintains the trial court erred in failing to
inquire into trial counsel's conflict of interest. For
the reasons explained below, we affirm in part, reverse in
part, and remand.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
August 9, 2013, Eddington broke into his ex-wife's home,
held her at gunpoint, and threatened to kill both himself and
his ex-wife. Once Eddington left the house, the ex-wife
called her father, who then called the police. The State
charged Eddington with second degree kidnapping pursuant to
Idaho Code § 18-4503, burglary pursuant to I.C. §
18-1401, aggravated assault pursuant to I.C. §
18-905(a), and using a deadly weapon in the commission of a
felony pursuant to I.C. § 19-2520. Eddington retained
private counsel. Soon after Eddington was charged, his mother
was charged with witness intimidation, I.C. § 18-2604.
The charge stemmed from a letter Eddington's mother wrote
to her ex-daughter-in-law about Eddington's charges.
Eddington's trial counsel then agreed to represent
pled guilty to second degree kidnapping and aggravated
assault, and the remaining charges were dismissed as the
result of a plea agreement. Eddington was sentenced on March
17, 2014. During the sentencing hearing, the State put
several witnesses on the stand. The witnesses most relevant
to the post-conviction proceedings were Eddington's
ex-wife, the ex-wife's father, the detective who
responded to the scene of the crime, and a forensic
psychologist. The district court then imposed a unified
sentence of twenty-two years, with ten years determinate, for
second degree kidnapping and a concurrent unified sentence of
five years, with five years determinate, for aggravated
assault. On March 18, 2014, Eddington's mother's
charge was dismissed.
filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging several
instances of ineffective assistance of trial counsel and one
instance of trial court error. Along with several other
documents, Eddington attached an affidavit from his mother to
the petition. The district court granted the State's
motion for summary dismissal. Eddington appeals.
petition for post-conviction relief initiates a proceeding
that is civil in nature. I.C. § 19-4907; Rhoades v.
State, 148 Idaho 247, 249, 220 P.3d 1066, 1068 (2009);
State v. Bearshield, 104 Idaho 676, 678, 662 P.2d
548, 550 (1983); Murray v. State, 121 Idaho 918,
921, 828 P.2d 1323, 1326 (Ct. App. 1992). Like a plaintiff in
a civil action, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance
of evidence the allegations upon which the request for
post-conviction relief is based. Goodwin v. State,
138 Idaho 269, 271, 61 P.3d 626, 628 (Ct. App. 2002). A
petition for post-conviction relief differs from a complaint
in an ordinary civil action. Dunlap v. State, 141
Idaho 50, 56, 106 P.3d 376, 382 (2004). A petition must
contain much more than a short and plain statement of the
claim that would suffice for a complaint under I.R.C.P.
8(a)(1). Rather, a petition for post-conviction relief must
be verified with respect to facts within the personal
knowledge of the petitioner, and affidavits, records, or
other evidence supporting its allegations must be attached or
the petition must state why such supporting evidence is not
included with the petition. I.C. § 19-4903. In other
words, the petition must present or be accompanied by
admissible evidence supporting its allegations or the
petition will be subject to dismissal. Wolf v.
State, 152 Idaho 64, 67, 266 P.3d 1169, 1172 (Ct. App.
Code Section 19-4906 authorizes summary dismissal of a
petition for post-conviction relief, either pursuant to a
motion by a party or upon the court's own initiative, if
it appears from the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions and agreements of fact,
together with any affidavits submitted, that there is no
genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. When considering
summary dismissal, the district court must construe disputed
facts in the petitioner's favor, but the court is not
required to accept either the petitioner's mere
conclusory allegations, unsupported by admissible evidence,
or the petitioner's conclusions of law. Roman v.
State, 125 Idaho 644, 647, 873 P.2d 898, 901 (Ct. App.
1994); Baruth v. Gardner, 110 Idaho 156, 159, 715
P.2d 369, 372 (Ct. App. 1986). Moreover, the district court,
as the trier of fact, is not constrained to draw inferences
in favor of the party opposing the motion for summary
disposition; rather, the district court is free to arrive at
the most probable inferences to be drawn from uncontroverted
evidence. Hayes v. State, 146 Idaho 353, 355, 195
P.3d 712, 714 (Ct. App. 2008). Such inferences will not be
disturbed on appeal if the uncontroverted evidence is
sufficient to justify them. Id.
may be summarily dismissed if the petitioner's
allegations are clearly disproven by the record of the
criminal proceedings, if the petitioner has not presented
evidence making a prima facie case as to each essential
element of the claims, or if the petitioner's allegations
do not justify relief as a matter of law. Kelly v.
State, 149 Idaho 517, 521, 236 P.3d 1277, 1281 (2010);
DeRushé v. State, 146 Idaho 599, 603, 200
P.3d 1148, 1152 (2009). Thus, summary dismissal of a claim
for post-conviction relief is appropriate when the court can
conclude, as a matter of law, that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief even with all disputed facts construed in
the petitioner's favor. For this reason, summary
dismissal of a post-conviction petition may be appropriate
even when the State does not controvert the petitioner's
evidence. See Roman, 125 Idaho at 647, 873 P.2d at
if the petition, affidavits, and other evidence supporting
the petition allege facts that, if true, would entitle the
petitioner to relief, the post-conviction claim may not be
summarily dismissed. Charboneau v. State, 140 Idaho
789, 792, 102 P.3d 1108, 1111 (2004); Sheahan v.
State, 146 Idaho 101, 104, 190 P.3d 920, 923 (Ct. App.
2008). If a genuine issue of material fact is presented, an