from the District Court of the Third Judicial District of the
State of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. Davis F. VanderVelde,
judgment of the district court is affirmed.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
appellant. Brian R. Dickson argued.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for
respondent. Lori A. Fleming argued.
Edgar Herrera challenges the district court's partial
denial of his Idaho Criminal Rule 35 motion for correction or
reduction of sentence. Following his conviction for
first-degree murder, among other charges, Herrera was
sentenced to an indeterminate term of life with thirty-five
years fixed. Herrera argued that his sentence was illegal
because the fixed term was greater than the duration
authorized by Idaho Code section 18-4004, the statute
governing punishment for murder. The district court rejected
this argument and denied Herrera's motion as to that
part, but the motion was granted in part due to an illegal
sentence for Herrera's separate conviction for
second-degree kidnapping. After a hearing was held to correct
the kidnapping sentence, the district court entered an
amended judgment, from which Herrera appealed. We affirm the
district court's decision.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
21, 2015, Herrera was convicted by a jury of first-degree
murder and second-degree kidnapping. On January 13, 2016, the
district court imposed concurrent life sentences for each
offense with fixed terms of thirty-five years and twenty
years, respectively. Herrera filed an Idaho Criminal Rule 35
motion for leniency. The district court denied the motion, as
well as a motion to reconsider that decision. On December 13,
2016, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of
conviction in an unpublished per curiam decision.
Herrera's subsequent petition for review was denied.
on March 6, 2017, Herrera filed a pro se Rule 35 motion
seeking the correction of his allegedly illegal sentences for
the murder and kidnapping convictions. During a hearing on
the motion, the parties agreed to stipulate to a new
kidnapping sentence of a fixed term of twenty years. Herrera
conditioned his agreement with a stipulation on the district
court concluding that his sentence for the murder conviction
was lawful. Alternatively, if that sentence was found
unlawful, Herrera stated that he would not agree to the
August 16, 2017, the district court issued an order that
granted and denied parts of Herrera's motion. The court
first determined that the murder conviction's sentence
was lawful under Idaho Code section 18-4004 and denied that
part of the motion. As to the kidnapping offense, the court
concluded that the sentence was illegal because the
indeterminate life portion exceeded the maximum penalty
permitted under Idaho Code section 18-4504(2). While
acknowledging the parties' stipulation to a new sentence
for that offense, the court explained that its finding
rendered the original judgment void and therefore a new
sentencing hearing was required.
October 5, 2017, following a resentencing hearing, the
district court entered an amended judgment and commitment,
wherein it imposed a twenty-year fixed sentence for the
kidnapping conviction. The murder sentence was left
unchanged. On October 25, 2017, Herrera filed a notice of
appeal from the amended judgment.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Criminal Rule 35(a) enables a trial court to correct a
sentence that is "illegal from the face of the
record" at any time. I.C.R. 35(a). "Whether this
rule is implicated generally raises a question of law, for
which this Court exercises free review." State v.
Passons, 163 Idaho 643, 645, 417 P.3d 240, 242 (2018)
(citing State v. Clements, 148 Idaho 82, 84, 218
P.3d 1143, 1145 (2009)).