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State v. Coleman

Court of Appeals of Idaho

April 6, 2018

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
GEOFFREY CLAUDE COLEMAN, Defendant-Appellant.

         2018 Opinion No. 18

          Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Boundary County. Hon. Barbara A. Buchanan, District Judge.

         Judgment of conviction for exhibition of a deadly weapon, vacated.

          Eric D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Ben P. McGreevy, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Kale D. Gans, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

          LORELLO, Judge

         Geoffrey Claude Coleman appeals from his judgment of conviction for exhibition of a deadly weapon. Coleman argues that the district court erred when it denied his Idaho Criminal Rule 29 motion for a judgment of acquittal. For the reasons set forth below, we vacate the judgment of conviction.

         I.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On Christmas Day in 2016, Coleman and his father had two altercations at his father's house. The first altercation occurred when Coleman's father was using an ATV to plow snow. The parties disagree on how the altercation occurred. Ultimately, Coleman ran over his father with the ATV before leaving his father's house. Coleman's father called the police and gave a written statement of the events that had occurred. A short time after the police left, Coleman came back to his father's house with his father's gun in hand. The parties agree that Coleman and his father were the only ones present in the home during this second altercation. The parties also agree that Coleman did not point the gun at his father. However, Coleman did point the gun to his own head while making threats to his father and telling his father to help remove Coleman's truck from the snow. Coleman's father again called the police and gave a written statement. Coleman was charged with aggravated battery, exhibition of a deadly weapon, grand theft, and malicious injury to property.

         At trial, Coleman moved for acquittal as to the exhibition of a deadly weapon, arguing that I.C. § 18-3303 required him to exhibit the gun in the presence of two or more persons other than himself and that only he and his father were present at the time of the alleged offense. The State argued that Coleman is one of the two persons and that, if the legislature had intended the defendant to be excluded, the statute would have read "in the presence of two or more persons other than the defendant." The district court agreed with the State, reasoning:

But exhibition or use of a deadly weapon, the case law makes it clear it is a lesser included of aggravated assault.
And clearly aggravated assault just requires two people, two or more. You have to have the person with a weapon and the person is assaulted.
And the way I read the statute is that they're just trying to make clear that if you are exhibiting a weapon in a rude, angry and threatening manner and you're the only one there, that maybe somebody took a video of it somehow or a picture, or ...

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