Opinion No. 40
from the District Court of the Sixth Judicial District, State
of Idaho, Bannock County. Hon. David C. Nye, District Judge.
denying motion to dismiss, affirmed.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Brian R.
Dickson, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Kale D. Gans, Deputy
Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
GRATTON, CHIEF JUDGE
Cruz Colvin appeals from the district court's order
denying his motion to dismiss.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
was issued a citation for misdemeanor domestic battery, Idaho
Code § 18-918(3)(b). The police report noted the victim,
his girlfriend at the time, had blood on her clothes, face,
and arms, and her eye was swollen shut. The State filed a
motion to dismiss the misdemeanor charge, which was granted.
The State subsequently filed a new complaint charging Colvin
with felony domestic battery, I.C. § 18-918(2)(a),
alleging he inflicted traumatic injury upon the victim.
moved to dismiss the felony charge, asserting it was barred
by I.C. § 19-3506 because it was for the same offense as
the previously dismissed charge. The State argued that felony
and misdemeanor domestic violence charges are not the same
offense and that I.C. § 19-3506 only bars the State from
filing repeat misdemeanors, as opposed to felonies, arising
from the same events. The district court concluded the
charges for misdemeanor and felony domestic battery are the
same offense when applying the test as set forth in
Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299 (1932),
but denied Colvin's motion to dismiss based on its
holding that I.C. § 19-3506 only bars prosecution for
the same offense if the subsequent charge is a misdemeanor.
entered a conditional guilty plea, in which he reserved his
right to appeal the denial of his motion to dismiss. The
district court imposed a withheld judgment for a probation
term of four years. Colvin timely appeals.
statute at issue in this case is I.C. § 19-3506, which
states: "An order for the dismissal of the action, as
provided in this chapter, is a bar to any other prosecution
for the same offense, if it is a misdemeanor; but it
is not a bar if the offense is a felony." I.C. §
19-3506 (emphasis added). The first issue is whether the
misdemeanor domestic battery charge is for the same offense
as the subsequent felony domestic battery charge for the
purpose of applying I.C. § 19-3506. Colvin argues both
charges are the same offense while the State asserts they are
not. The second issue is whether "it" (italicized
above) refers to the action that was dismissed or the newly
filed action. In order for Colvin's subsequent charge for
felony domestic battery to be barred pursuant to the statute,
he must show that the charges were for the same offense and
that this Court must conclude on the second issue that the
statute bars subsequent felony charges when the original
charge is a misdemeanor.
Court exercises free review over the application and
construction of statutes. State v. Reyes, 139 Idaho
502, 505, 80 P.3d 1103, 1106 (Ct. App. 2003). Where the
language of a statute is plain and unambiguous, this Court
must give effect to the statute as written, without engaging
in statutory construction. State v. Burnight, 132
Idaho 654, 659, 978 P.2d 214, 219 (1999); State v.
Escobar, 134 Idaho 387, 389, 3 P.3d 65, 67 (Ct. App.
2000). The language of the statute is to be given its plain,
obvious, and rational meaning. Burnight, 132 Idaho
at 659, 978 P.2d at 219. If the language is clear and
unambiguous, there is no occasion for the court to resort to
legislative history or rules of statutory interpretation.
Escobar, 134 Idaho at 389, 3 P.3d at 67. When this
Court must engage in statutory construction because an
ambiguity exists, it has the duty to ascertain the
legislative intent and give effect to that intent. State
v. Beard, 135 Idaho 641, 646, 22 P.3d 116, 121 (Ct. App.
2001). To ascertain such intent, not only must the literal
words of the statute be examined, but also the context of
those words, the public policy behind the ...