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State v. Montgomery

Supreme Court of Idaho

December 21, 2017

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DANIEL MONTGOMERY, Defendant-Appellant

         2017 Opinion No. 127

         Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the State of Idaho, in and for Kootenai County. Hon. Cynthia K.C. Meyer, District Judge.

         The judgment of conviction is affirmed.

          Eric D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Elizabeth A. Allred argued.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Jessica Lorello argued.

          BRODY, Justice.

         Daniel Montgomery appeals from his conviction for unlawful discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle. Montgomery contends the district court abused its discretion when it allowed the State to present the testimony of two undisclosed rebuttal witnesses in violation of the requirements of Idaho Criminal Rule 16(b)(6). Montgomery also asserts that the prosecution engaged in misconduct by arguing during closing that certain witnesses lied, resulting in a violation of Montgomery's right to a fair trial. We affirm the judgment of conviction.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On September 18, 2014, a white Jeep Cherokee turned onto the street where Montgomery lived, jumped a curb, and struck a trash can. The Jeep reached the end of the cul-de-sac, turned around, and headed toward Montgomery's home. Montgomery was working on a car in his driveway with his daughter when he heard screeching tires and the impact. Montgomery entered the street as the Jeep approached, with his handgun drawn.

         Montgomery pointed his gun at the driver through the windshield, forcing him to stop. The driver of the Jeep got out and he and Montgomery briefly spoke, while Montgomery kept his gun pointed at him. The driver got back in the vehicle, shut the door, and the Jeep slowly moved forward. Once the Jeep began to accelerate, it made contact with Montgomery, who moved out of the way. Montgomery fired two rounds into the engine of the Jeep as it moved passed him and another three rounds at the back of the Jeep. The driver and his passenger drove away unharmed. A neighbor's home security camera recorded the confrontation.

         The State charged Montgomery with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of unlawful discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle. At the preliminary hearing, one count of aggravated assault was dismissed because of insufficient evidence. Prior to trial, pursuant to Idaho Criminal Rule 16(b)(6), Montgomery made a discovery request asking for the names of all persons having knowledge of relevant facts who may be called by the prosecuting attorney as witnesses at trial. The State disclosed twenty-five potential witnesses.

         At trial, Montgomery testified on his own behalf. He essentially testified that he acted in self-defense or defense of others, explaining that he had to seek medical attention from a local medical center the day after the incident and was diagnosed with multiple contusions and a displaced hip from the impact of the vehicle. To rebut Montgomery's testimony, the State called as a witness the booking deputy who processed Montgomery the night he was arrested. Montgomery objected and requested that the district court exclude the witness's testimony as a discovery sanction because the State did not disclose him as a potential witness as required by Idaho Criminal Rule 16(b)(6). The district court overruled Montgomery's objection, and the booking deputy was allowed to testify that Montgomery told him in response to standard intake questioning that he was in good health and did not have any injuries.

         Montgomery also testified at trial, to the best of his knowledge, that all five bullets he fired at the vehicle were recovered. He based his knowledge on the police reports. The State called an investigating officer to rebut this testimony. Montgomery objected to this testimony on the same grounds he raised for the booking deputy. The district court overruled the objection, and the investigating officer was allowed to testify that he examined the Jeep's flat tire and found two holes and a significant dent in the rim, along with two deformed slugs inside the tire. There is no dispute that Montgomery received a copy of the investigating officer's report as part of discovery, but the investigating officer's name was not on the State's witness list provided during discovery.

         The jury acquitted Montgomery of the aggravated assault charge, but found him guilty of unlawfully discharging his firearm into an occupied vehicle. Montgomery timely filed a notice of appeal. Montgomery's appeal was initially heard by the Idaho Court of Appeals, which upheld the conviction on the ground that the district court acted consistently with the applicable legal standards. Montgomery filed a petition for review, which we granted.

         II. ...


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