Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Vasquez

Court of Appeals of Idaho

July 3, 2017

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
IDA PEREZ VASQUEZ, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the District Court of the Sixth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Power County. Hon. Stephen S. Dunn, District Judge.

         Judgment of conviction, vacated and case remanded.

          Eric D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Justin M. Curtis, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Jessica M. Lorello, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

          HUSKEY, Judge.

         Ida Perez Vasquez appeals from the judgment of conviction entered following her conditional plea of guilty to one count of intimidating a witness, in violation of Idaho Code § 18-2604(3). Vasquez argues she was deprived of her state and federal constitutional right to a jury trial because although her trial counsel waived her right to a jury trial, Vasquez never personally waived such right, either orally or in writing. We vacate the judgment of conviction and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In 2009, D.P. made allegations of sexual abuse against her paternal uncle, but later recanted those allegations. D.P.'s father, paternal uncle, and Vasquez are all siblings. In 2012, D.P. disclosed additional acts of sexual abuse by the same uncle. Because of the new allegations, police officers again investigated the 2009 allegations. During the course of the 2012 investigation, the officers obtained evidence that Vasquez coached D.P. in 2009 regarding what to say during the recantation. As a result, Vasquez was charged with intimidating a witness.

         Vasquez initially pleaded not guilty and the case was set for trial. After a failed attempt at mediation, trial was reset. The day before trial, Vasquez's counsel and the prosecutor informed the district court they intended to waive the right to a jury trial and stipulate to a bench trial. On the day of trial, the following exchange occurred:

Court: Yesterday I was advised by the counsel for parties, both the state and the defendant, that they had stipulated to waive a jury and try this case to the court. Is that right, Mr. Peterson?
Mr. Peterson: Yes, Your Honor.
Court: Mr. Souza?
Mr. Souza: Yes, sir.
Court: All right. So the record will reflect that agreement.

         Although Vasquez was present during this exchange, she was never asked by the court whether she personally agreed to waive her right to a jury trial. Following the bench trial, Vasquez was convicted of felony intimidating a witness. The district court imposed a unified sentence of four years, with two years determinate, and placed Vasquez on probation. Vasquez timely appealed. On appeal, Vasquez argues that the failure of the district court to specifically ask Vasquez and obtain her waiver of her right to a jury trial constituted a structural defect in the proceedings, mandating that her conviction be vacated.

         II.

         ANALYSIS

         We recognize the Idaho Supreme Court's opinion in State v. Umphenour, 160 Idaho 503, 376 P.3d 707 (2016). However, because the Supreme Court found that the proceedings in the district court constituted a guilty plea rather than a bench trial, it did not address whether the waiver of the right to a jury trial is a right personal to the defendant and consequently, can be waived only by the defendant. Id. at 507, 376 P.3d 710. Because the issue was not squarely presented, the Supreme Court specifically declined to address the issue of what constitutes a valid waiver of the right to a jury trial:

In holding that [Umphenour's] waiver of the right to a jury trial could be fairly inferred, we are only referring to a waiver of that right in connection with a guilty plea. We express no opinion as to whether it would have been adequate had he really waived a jury trial and had a court trial.

Id. at 507, 376 P.3d at 711. Here, however, the issue is squarely presented.

         Vasquez did not file a motion for a new trial nor otherwise raise the issue of a violation of her right to a jury trial in the district court. Therefore, in order to obtain relief on ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.