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State v. Schiermeier

Supreme Court of Idaho

August 26, 2019

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
CHAD SCHIERMEIER, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Blaine County. Jonathan P. Brody, District Judge.

         The judgment of the district court is affirmed.

          Eric Don Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise for Appellant. Jenevieve C. Swinford argued.

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

          MOELLER, JUSTICE.

         I. NATURE OF THE CASE

         Following a seven-day trial, a Blaine County jury found Chad Schiermeier guilty of grand theft. Schiermeier appeals from his judgment of conviction, arguing that the State did not prove the elements of grand theft beyond a reasonable doubt. Schiermeier also argues that the district court abused its discretion by imposing an excessive sentence. For the reasons stated below, we affirm.

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In the early 1990s, the Blaine County Sheriff's Office started Blaine County DARE/PAL Inc. ("DARE/PAL"). According to its articles of incorporation, DARE/PAL was organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes within the meaning of 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) in order "to foster, promote, encourage and increase the knowledge, and understanding of alcohol and drug addictions or related problems." Art. III, Art. of Inc. To further its purpose, DARE/PAL offered outdoor-related group activities during the summer months to children between the ages of nine and sixteen. Some of the activities included hiking, golfing, fishing, rafting, and attending baseball games. The activities were primarily funded by the Blaine County Sheriff's Office through drug forfeiture funds and by local philanthropists through donations and grants.

         Chad Schiermeier was a deputy sheriff for the Blaine County Sheriff's Office from 1999 to 2015, serving as a middle school resource officer and the director of DARE/PAL. In 2002, in accordance with the DARE/PAL bylaws, [1] the board of directors appointed Schiermeier to be the manager of DARE/PAL.

         The bylaws and articles of incorporation gave the manager, and therefore Schiermeier, wide discretion and authorization to spend the DARE/PAL funds in furtherance of the program:

Duties. All corporate powers shall be exercised by or under the authority of and the affairs of the nonprofit corporation managed under the direction of the Board of Directors, except the Manager is authorized to exercise corporate powers, as set forth in the Articles of Incorporation and these By-laws. The board of directors may: . . . .
(f)audit bills and disburse funds of the corporation;
(g)employ agents;
(h) determine what, if any, compensation shall be paid to a director of a project; and
(i) devise and carry into execution such other measures as it deems proper and expedient to promote the objects of the nonprofit corporation and to best protect the interests and welfare of its members.

         Art. V, section 4, Bylaws. "A manager is authorized to exercise some or all of the powers which would otherwise be exercised by or under the authority of the Board of Directors." Art. IX, Art. of Inc. In order to effectively carry out his managerial duties, the board named Schiermeier an authorized user of the DARE/PAL bank account.

         Following Schiermeier's appointment as manager, the board slowly became inactive, neglecting its duties and entrusting Schiermeier to handle all things related to DARE/PAL. By 2009, Schiermeier was the sole corporate officer involved in running the affairs of the program.

         In July 2015, a charitable group called 100 Men Who Care donated approximately $5, 100 to DARE/PAL. Shortly thereafter, the group followed up with Schiermeier's supervisor, Lieutenant Carpita, to see how their donation had been spent. Carpita in turn asked Schiermeier. Several months went by with vague responses, if any, from Schiermeier. Finally, in November 2015, after more than three months of requests and meetings, Schiermeier provided Carpita with the requested DARE/PAL bank records. After reviewing the records, Carpita became suspicious after he noticed "a lot of cash withdrawals through the ATM . . . during times when the PAL activities were not going on." Consequently, Carpita decided to have the matter independently investigated by the Idaho State Police.

         The bank records revealed that from 2009 to 2015, Schiermeier made several extravagant purchases of high-end outdoor equipment and clothing, including $2, 365.91 for Swarovski binoculars, $429.00 for a single sleeping bag, $292.40 for safari-grade hunting ammunition, $1, 459.90 for two camera lenses, $69.00 for a goose down pillow, and $617.52 for mountaineering boots, gaiters, and a watch. Schiermeier also made multiple cash withdrawals totaling $17, 745.00 in 2009, $17, 120.00 in 2010, $19, 765.00 in 2011, $13, 320.00 in 2012, $12, 200.00 in 2013, $4, 260.00 in 2014, and $7, 820.00 in 2015.

         Following the independent investigation by the Idaho State Police, the State charged Schiermeier with one count of grand theft.[2] The information alleged the following:

That the Defendant, CHAD R. SCHIERMEIER, on or about January, 2009, up to and including December, 2015, in the County of Blaine, State of Idaho, did wrongfully take, and/or obtain, and/or withhold, and/or exercise unauthorized control over, lawful money of the United States, with an aggregate value in excess of one thousand dollars ($1, 000.00), from the owner, Blaine County D.A.R.E/P.A.L., INC., with the intent to deprive another of property, and/or to appropriate to himself certain property of another, and/or to appropriate to a third person certain property of another, to-wit: through a common scheme or plan did unlawfully, and without authority, withdraw monies from U.S. Bank account number XXXX-8338 by cash, and/or check withdrawals, and/or the use of a financial transaction card, Visa debit card number XXXX-7161 and/or XXXX-1876, from an account exclusively for the use of the Blaine County D.A.R.E./P.A.L., INC., to purchase merchandise and/or withdraw money for his personal use where the aggregate amounts of the separate incidents exceed one thousand dollars ($1000.00), in violation of Idaho Code §§ 18-2403(1), 18-2407(1)(b)(1), 18-2408(2)(a) GRAND THEFT, a FELONY.

         The jury trial commenced on August 23, 2017. After the State rested its case, Schiermeier moved for a judgment of acquittal pursuant to Idaho Criminal Rule 29(a). The district court denied his motion. At the end of the trial, the jury returned a verdict of guilty. Schiermeier once again moved for a judgment of acquittal pursuant to Rule 29(c), or in the alternative, a new trial pursuant to Rule 34. Schiermeier subsequently withdrew his motion because it was untimely. ...


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