Opinion No. 18
from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State
of Idaho, Boundary County. Hon. Barbara A. Buchanan, District
of conviction for exhibition of a deadly weapon, vacated.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Ben P.
McGreevy, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Kale D. Gans, Deputy
Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
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.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
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.
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 ...