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State v. Gibson

Supreme Court of Idaho

November 29, 2018

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DILLON GRANT GIBSON, Defendant, and JUDY LUIS, individually, Surety/Real Party in Interest-Appellant.

          Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Bingham County. Hon. Bruce L. Pickett, District Judge.

         The order of the district court is reversed.

          Blaser, Oleson & Lloyd, Chartered, Blackfoot, for appellant. Michael A. Pope argued.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Kenneth K. Jorgensen argued.

          BRODY, JUSTICE.

         This appeal arises from the district court's denial of a motion to exonerate a cash deposit posted as bail. Dillon Gibson was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. His mother, Judy Luis, posted a cash deposit and a property bond that collectively enabled Gibson's release on bail. After he pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter, but before sentencing, Gibson was alleged to have violated his conditions of release. He was arrested on a bench warrant, remanded to custody, and informed by the district court that additional bail would be required and that the previous bail amount would not be forfeited. Following sentencing, Luis moved for release of the cash deposit, asserting that it should have been exonerated when Gibson was remanded to custody. The district court denied the motion and directed the clerk of the court to apply the cash deposit against Gibson's fine, costs, and restitution obligations pursuant to Idaho Code section 19-2908. Luis timely appealed. We reverse the district court's order but deny Luis's request for attorney's fees and costs.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Gibson drove drunk and crashed into a home, killing a resident. The State charged Gibson with one felony count of vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. Given Gibson's prior record, the State initially requested a bail amount of $500, 000, which the magistrate court granted. The magistrate court later reduced the bail amount to $240, 000. Thereafter, Luis posted a cash deposit of $50, 000 and a property bond for the remaining $190, 000, guaranteeing Gibson's appearance in court when required. The magistrate court accepted Luis's undertaking and entered an order for Gibson's release on bail with conditions.

         Gibson subsequently pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter, and the State agreed to dismiss the other charges. About six weeks later, before sentencing had occurred, the State moved to revoke Gibson's release pursuant to Idaho Code section 19-2919, alleging that Gibson had admitted to violations of his conditions of release by drinking alcohol and using methamphetamine. The district court granted the State's motion and ordered a warrant issued for Gibson's arrest.

         Gibson was arrested pursuant to the warrant. The next day, the magistrate court held a brief hearing where the court informed Gibson that it was ordering additional bail in the amount of $100, 000 and that the previously posted bail would not be forfeited (the correct term is actually "exonerated"; "forfeiture" of bail occurs when the defendant has failed to appear as ordered). Gibson was remanded to custody and remained there until his sentencing hearing.

         About a month after he was remanded to custody, Gibson was sentenced to serve a term of fifteen years with three years fixed. The district court entered a judgment of conviction. Within the judgment, Gibson was ordered to pay a fine of $1, 000 and court costs of $275.50. The district court also ordered exoneration of the property bond Luis posted, but declared that the cash deposit would be retained until resolution of the restitution issue.

         Gibson and the State subsequently stipulated to a restitution amount of $300, 000. The day the stipulation was filed, Luis, through Gibson's counsel, moved for the "release" of the cash deposit (again, it is called "exoneration" under Idaho Code section 19-2905(8)). The district court denied Luis's motion and ordered the clerk of the court to apply the cash deposit against any fines, court costs, and restitution pursuant to Idaho Code section 19-2908. The district court later entered an order of restitution consistent with the parties' stipulation. Luis timely appealed.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Statutory interpretation is a question of law over which the Court exercises free review. State v. Boren, 156 ...


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