SUBSTITUTE OPINION: THE OPINION FILED DECEMBER 18, 2018 IS
from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, State
of Idaho, Minidoka County. Hon. Jonathan P. Brody, District
court order dismissing petition for post-conviction relief,
Benjamin McKay & Bartlett, LLP, Boise, for appellant.
Dennis Benjamin argued.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for
respondent. Russell Spencer argued.
BURDICK, CHIEF JUSTICE.
Jared Thompson appeals the district court's order
summarily dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief
based on ineffective assistance of counsel. Thompson was
charged and convicted of involuntary manslaughter with an
enhancement for use of a deadly weapon. Thompson's direct
appeal was unsuccessful and he filed a petition for
post-conviction relief based on ineffective assistance of
counsel at trial and on appeal. Thompson argued his trial
counsel was ineffective for failing to request proximate and
intervening cause jury instructions. He also argued his
appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise a
claim of fundamental error as to the jury instructions. The
district court granted the State's motion for summary
dismissal of Thompson's petition for post-conviction
relief. The Court of Appeals reversed the district
court's order summarily dismissing Thompson's
petition. This Court granted the State's timely petition
for review, and we affirm the district court's judgment.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
December 2011, Thompson and three friends went out for a
night of social drinking. Later that evening, Thompson's
friends began to argue and Thompson recommended the group
leave in his truck. After his friends continued to argue in
the truck, Thompson stated, "if one of you don't
shut up, I'm going to shoot somebody." One of the
friends, Michael Blair (Blair), laughed, to which Thompson
responded, "you think I'm kidding?" Thompson
then pulled out a loaded handgun and cocked it twice.
Thompson held the gun in his right hand, put his elbow on the
center console and pointed the gun upward and backward. Blair
then slid over to the middle of the backseat and said,
"if you're going to shoot somebody, it might as well
be me. End my miserable existence." Blair then put his
hand on Thompson's hand, and put his mouth around the
barrel of the gun. The gun then went off, killing Blair.
Thompson told the others that Blair had pulled the trigger.
was charged with involuntary manslaughter with an enhancement
for use of a deadly weapon. At trial, Thompson's attorney
argued that Thompson did not cause Blair's death. Rather,
counsel argued, Blair caused his own death when he put his
mouth on the barrel of a loaded gun. Thompson's counsel
did not request, and the jury was not given, an instruction
on proximate or intervening cause. The jury returned a guilty
verdict, and Thompson was later sentenced to fifteen years in
prison with five years fixed. Thompson appealed his
conviction and sentence, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.
State v. Thompson, No. 40796, 2014 WL 6092429, at *4
(Idaho Ct. App. Nov. 7, 2014).
year later, Thompson filed a petition for post-conviction
relief alleging his trial and appellate counsel were
ineffective. Thompson alleged that his trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to request proximate and intervening
cause jury instructions. Thompson also alleged his appellate
counsel was ineffective for failing to assert a claim of
fundamental error resulting from the jury not being properly
instructed on causation. The State moved for summary
dismissal of the post-conviction petition. The district court
granted the State's motion to dismiss, stating that by
virtue of finding Thompson guilty, the jury found there was
causation, and an additional instruction on proximate cause
was not necessary and would not have changed the outcome.
Thus, the district court determined Thompson's trial
attorney was not ineffective for failing to request proximate
or intervening cause instructions. As to Thompson's claim
of ineffective appellate counsel, the district court stated
counsel did not have to raise the arguments Thompson deemed
worthy, and that there was no basis for an intervening cause
instruction, as it would not have changed the outcome. Thus,
the district court determined Thompson failed to show
appellate counsel was ineffective. The Court of Appeals
reversed the district court's order summarily dismissing
Thompson's petition for post-conviction relief. This
Court granted the State's timely petition for review.
ISSUE ON APPEAL
district court err in summarily dismissing Thompson's
petition for post-conviction relief?
STANDARD OF REVIEW
addressing a petition for review, this Court will give
"serious consideration to the views of the Court of
Appeals, but directly reviews the decision of the lower
court." State v. Schall, 157 Idaho
488, 491, 337 P.3d 647, 650 (2014) (quoting State v.
Oliver, 144 Idaho 722, 724, 170 P.3d 387, 389 (2007)).
"Proceedings for post-conviction relief are civil in
nature, rather than criminal, and therefore the applicant
must prove the allegations in the request for relief by a
preponderance of the evidence." State v.
Dunlap, 155 Idaho 345, 361, 313 P.3d 1, 17 (2013).
"Idaho Code § 19-4906 authorizes summary dismissal
of an application for post-conviction relief, either pursuant
to motion of a party or upon the trial court's own
initiative. Summary dismissal of an application is the
procedural equivalent of summary judgment under I.R.C.P.
56." "When reviewing the grant of a motion for
summary judgment, this Court applies the same standard used
by the district court in ruling on the motion."
Likewise, when reviewing a district court's order of
summary dismissal in a post-conviction relief proceeding, we
apply the same standard as that applied by the district
court. Thus, when reviewing such a dismissal, this Court must
determine whether a genuine issue of fact exists based on the
pleadings, depositions and admissions together with any
affidavits on file.
Ridgley v. State, 148 Idaho 671, 675, 227 P.3d 925,
929 (2010) (citations omitted).
Thompson's trial counsel was not ineffective for failing
to request proximate and ...