Opinion No. 136
from the District Court of the Sixth Judicial District of the
State of Idaho, Bannock County. Hon. Mitchell W. Brown,
district court's judgment is affirmed.
Benjamin, McKay & Bartlett, LLP, Boise, for appellant.
A. Benjamin argued.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for
respondent. John C. McKinney argued.
Michael Adamcik appeals seeking relief from his conviction
and sentence for the murder of Cassie Stoddart when he was
sixteen years old. This Court previously affirmed the
conviction and sentence of life without the possibility of
parole. Adamcik sought post-conviction relief in the district
court on several claims, including ineffective assistance of
counsel and that his sentence violated the federal and state
bars against cruel and unusual punishment. The district court
denied all of Adamcik's claims following an evidentiary
hearing. On appeal, Adamcik contends that the district court
erred in denying his requested relief as to three of the
ineffective assistance of counsel claims. He additionally
asserts the district court erred in denying his claim that
the imposed sentence of life without the possibility of
parole violates the Eighth Amendment to the United States
Constitution and Article 1, section 6 of the Idaho
Constitution in light of the recent Unites States Supreme
Court opinions. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Court provided a detailed factual record of the events
surrounding Cassie Stoddart's murder in Adamcik's
On September 22, 2006, Stoddart was spending the night at her
cousin's house, the Whispering Cliffs residence,
performing house-sitting duties. Matt Beckham (Beckham),
Stoddart's boyfriend, stated that he and Stoddart had
invited Adamcik to the Whispering Cliffs residence that
evening to "hang out." Adamcik and Draper arrived
at the Whispering Cliffs residence at approximately 6:30 or
7:00 PM. After spending approximately two hours at the
Whispering Cliffs residence, Draper informed Stoddart and
Beckham that he needed to leave and shortly thereafter Draper
and Adamcik departed.
Approximately fifteen minutes after Adamcik and Draper
departed, the power at the Whispering Cliffs residence went
out. Beckham called his mother to ask for permission to stay
the night, but such permission was denied. After speaking
with his mother, Beckham phoned Adamcik to inform him that
Beckham would be going home for the night. Beckham later said
that during their conversation Adamcik spoke in a whisper and
claimed to be at a movie. Beckham and Adamcik spent the
following day together. Beckham tried repeatedly to call
Stoddart throughout the day but was unable to get an answer.
On September 24, 2006, it was discovered that Stoddart had
been killed at the Whispering Cliffs residence. Police
officer Hatch responded to the scene and noted large amounts
of blood on the victim's body, as well as deep
lacerations and stab wounds. Shortly after responding, police
and paramedics confirmed that Stoddart was dead. Detectives
conducting the preliminary investigation determined that
Adamcik and Draper had been among the last people to see
Detectives Thomas and Ganske went to the Adamcik home and
interviewed Adamcik on September 24, 2006. Adamcik's
father, Sean Adamcik (Sean), was present. This interview was
the first of two interviews that detectives Thomas and Ganske
conducted with Adamcik. During the course of the first
interview, Adamcik informed the detectives that he and Draper
had gone to the Whispering Cliffs residence at approximately
8:30 PM on September 22, 2006, for a party. Adamcik stated
that when it became apparent that a party was not going to
take place, he and Draper decided to go and see a movie in
Pocatello. When the detectives questioned Adamcik regarding
the movie he had reportedly seen, Adamcik was unable to
describe what the movie had been about. Adamcik told
detectives that following the movie he and Draper had gone to
spend the night at Adamcik's home.
On September 27, 2006, after Adamcik's first interview,
but before the second, Draper led law enforcement agents to a
stash of evidence buried in the Black Rock Canyon area (BRC
site). The evidence uncovered by law enforcement at the BRC
1. Two dagger-style knives with sheaths.
2. A silver-and-black-handled knife with a smooth and
3. A folding knife with a silver blade and black handle,
which is similar to a survival knife. The portion of the
blade nearest to the hilt is serrated.
4. A homemade Sony videotape (BRC tape).
5. A box of stick matches.
6. A melted brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide.
7. Partially burned notebook paper.
8. A partially melted multi-colored mask.
9. A red and white mask.
10. A pair of black boots.
11. A single black glove.
12. A pair of black "Puma" gloves.
13. A pair of blue latex gloves.
14. A pair of fingerless black "Athletic Works"
15. A black "Calvin Klein" dress shirt.
16. A black "Hagger" shirt.
Adamcik conceded that his handwriting was present on the
notebook paper found along with the other evidence at the BRC
site. The BRC tape contained footage of Adamcik and Draper
planning Stoddart's murder, and later reacting to having
killed Stoddart. The BRC tape skips around and is not
recorded in chronological order. The following relevant
portions of the BRC tape have been rearranged according to
the time and date stamps that appear on the BRC tape.
1. September 21, 2006, at 8:05:23 PM [Adamcik and
Draper are in a car, Adamcik is driving and Draper is filming
from the passenger seat]
Draper: We're going for a high death
Adamcik: Plus, we're not going to get
caught Brian, if we're going for guns, we're just
gonna end it. We're just gonna grab the guns and get
outta there and kill everybody and leave.
Draper: We're going to make history. . .
. We're gonna make history.
Adamcik: For all you FBI agents watching
Adamcik: Uh . . . you weren't quick
Draper: You weren't quick enough, and
you weren't s-s-smart enough. And we're going over to
[Jane Doe 1's] house, we-we-we're going to snoop
around over there and try to see if she's home alone or
not, and if she's home alone, SPLAT! . . . She dead.
Adamcik: Don't put your humor into this
Draper: Uh, I'm not putting any humor
into it. . . . Yep, people will die, and m-m-memories will
Adamcik: Memories will fade. . . . I, hmm, I
wonder what movie you got that from Brian?
Draper: That was from myself.
Adamcik: No wonder it was so lame.
Draper:-kay, we're on our way, and
I'm gonna, I'll let you stay tuned, we're almost
2. September 21, 2006, at 8:08:12 PM [Adamcik and
Draper are in a car, Draper is filming Adamcik with the
camera light on]
Draper: We're at [Jane Doe 1's]
house. It's clear out there in the pasture. We've
already snooped around her house a couple times, Uh, and
sh-sh-she's not at home so we're gonna go to that
church over there and we're gonna call a girl and a guy
named Cassie and Matt. They're our-our friends but we
have to make sacrifices. So um I feel tonight i-i-it is the
night and I feel really weird . . . and stuff. I feel like I
want to kill somebody. Uh, I know that's not normal but
what the hell.
Adamcik: I feel we need to break away from
Draper: How bright is this light? [Draper
has turned the camera light directly onto Adamcik]
Adamcik: Because . . . let's put it this
way . . . parents, along with their parents, along with their
parents, and so on-
Adamcik:-taught them about God, Jesus, the
Adamcik:-line. I'm sure you guys believe
in God as well. I realized when I was in seventh grade . . .
along, you don't believe in Santa Claus or-
Adamcik:-vampires, or werewolves,
they're used to metaphor, not let-they teach their kids
back in the 1800s, I learned this in English class, about
telling their kids that they can't go outside or a
vampire will get you-just to make their kids stay and do what
they want to do. God is basically-
Draper: That's what God's for right?
Adamcik:-the same way-
Adamcik:-tryin' to get people to do
good, or else "so-called" [air quoting] you go to
Draper: And we're obviously going to
hell if it's real, but who gives a shit?
Adamcik: And why would you say it's
Draper: [talking over Adamcik] Yeah, but
it's not real. It's not real, cuz it's so
blatantly obvious that it's not real, but (laughing)
Adamcik: People believe it because their
parents teach them, and so it's so hard for them to let
go of it because they've been taught their whole life.
Draper: Yeah, I know.
Adamcik: But, fuckin-
Adamcik:-the point I'm makin' is . .
. we are also taught that things like killing people and
other things is wrong. The only thing that is wrong about is
because it's breaking the law and the law is only wrong
(mumbling, searching for words)-
Draper: Natural selection, dude. Natural
selection, that's all I've gotta say.
Adamcik: There should be no law against
killing people. I know it's a wrong thing, but . . .
Draper: Natural selection-
Adamcik:-Hell, hell, you restrict somebody
from it, they're just gonna want it more.
Draper: Exactly. Goodbye camera.
3. September 21, 2006, at 8:15:39 PM [Adamcik and
Draper are in a car, Adamcik is driving and Draper is filming
from the passenger seat]
Draper:-home. My friend's too pussy to
go investigate-turn here
Adamcik: Too smart-
Draper: Why aren't you turning there