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Bias v. State

Court of Appeals of Idaho

August 27, 2018

WILLIAM JACK BIAS, Petitioner-Respondent,
v.
STATE OF IDAHO, Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, State of Idaho, Madison County. Hon. Gregory W. Moeller, District Judge.

         Judgment granting, in part, petition for post-conviction relief, affirmed.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Kenneth K. Jorgensen, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for appellant.

          Eric D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Reed P. Anderson, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for respondent.

          Kenneth K. Jorgensen argued.

          Reed P. Anderson argued.

          GRATTON, CHIEF JUDGE.

         The State appeals from the district court's judgment granting, in part, William Jack Bias's petition for post-conviction relief. We affirm.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Bias pled guilty to felony driving under the influence, Idaho Code §§ 18-8004; 18-8005(5). The district court imposed a ten-year sentence with five years determinate. After sentencing, Bias filed a petition for post-conviction relief challenging his conviction and sentence. Bias asserted several ineffective assistance of counsel claims, one of which alleged that Bias's trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress "challeng[ing] proto call [sic] of stop, and jurisdiction of law enforcement." The district court appointed post-conviction counsel after finding that Bias's petition gave rise to the possibility of a valid claim on at least a few of his ineffective assistance of counsel claims. Bias's post-conviction counsel did not file an amended petition or supplement the original petition. The State filed an answer denying all of the claims in Bias's petition.

         The district court subsequently conducted evidentiary hearings primarily focused on issues related to Bias's ineffective assistance of counsel claims. At the second evidentiary hearing, the parties agreed to limit the scope of the hearing to the issue of whether there were meritorious grounds for a motion to suppress based on Bias's belief that the officer was acting outside of his jurisdictional boundaries when he stopped and arrested Bias. The State called the officer who stopped Bias to testify as to where the traffic stop had occurred and then introduced dashcam video to confirm the location of the stop. This was the first time that either Bias, post-conviction counsel, or trial counsel had seen the video.[1] Based on the video, Bias's post-conviction counsel conceded there was no jurisdictional issue, but asserted Bias's trial counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge the reasonable suspicion for the stop. The State objected to the court's consideration of the reasonable suspicion claim arguing the court was allowing Bias to delve into new areas outside of the limited scope of the hearing. Over the State's objection, the court held a third evidentiary hearing to address the reasonable suspicion claim. Following the hearing, the district court granted Bias's petition for post-conviction relief insofar as he had asserted trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress challenging the reasonable suspicion for the stop. The State timely appeals.

         II. ANALYSIS

         In order to prevail in a post-conviction proceeding, the petitioner must prove the allegations by a preponderance of the evidence. I.C. § 19-4907; Stuart v. State, 118 Idaho 865, 869, 801 P.2d 1216, 1220 (1990); Baxter v. State, 149 Idaho 859, 861, 243 P.3d 675, 677 (Ct. App. 2010). When reviewing a decision granting post-conviction relief after an evidentiary hearing, an appellate court will not disturb the lower court's factual findings unless they are clearly erroneous. Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a); Cook v. State, 157 Idaho 775, 777, 339 P.3d 1179, 1181 (Ct. App. 2014). The credibility of the witnesses, the weight to be given to their testimony, and the inferences to be drawn from the evidence are all matters solely within the province of the district court. Dunlap v. State, 141 Idaho 50, 56, 106 P.3d 376, 382 (2004); Larkin v. State, 115 Idaho 72, 73, 764 P.2d 439, 440 (Ct. App. 1988). We exercise free review of the district court's application of the relevant law to the facts. Baxter, 149 Idaho at 862, 243 P.3d at 678.

         A. Notice and ...


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