from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of
the State of Idaho, Ada County. Thomas Neville and Deborah A.
Bail, District Judges.
judgment of conviction is affirmed.
D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
appellant Eric Livingston Weigle. Andrea W. Reynolds argued.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for
respondent State of Idaho. Theodore S. Tollefson argued.
Livingston Weigle (Weigle) was found guilty of robbing a
credit union following a two-day jury trial. During the
trial, the State's forensic scientist used a PowerPoint
presentation to explain how she matched one of Weigle's
known fingerprints to one found on the note used in the
robbery. At trial, the presentation was admitted as an
exhibit for demonstrative purposes without objection. It was
then published to the jury. During its deliberations, the
jury asked for a copy of the PowerPoint presentation.
Weigle's counsel objected; however, the district court
overruled the objection and provided the jury with the
presentation. The jury found Weigle guilty. The district
court imposed a conviction.
appealed from his judgment of conviction. The Court of
Appeals affirmed. This Court granted his petition for review.
Weigle argues that giving the presentation to the jury during
deliberations was improper and constituted reversible error.
For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court's
decision to give the jury the PowerPoint presentation and the
sentencing court's judgment of conviction.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
October 5, 2016, a man committed a robbery at the Icon Credit
Union on North Orchard Street in Boise, Idaho. The man handed
a teller a note which read, "MONEY on counter or I shoot
u!" The man was not wearing gloves. The teller then
handed over $1, 990 in cash. As the teller handed the man the
money, she "scooped the note off onto the ground"
as trained, so the authorities could examine it for
fingerprints. The man then turned and walked out of the
credit union. Multiple bank robbery alarms alerted the
police. An officer arrived within a few minutes to secure the
credit union. Not long after, a crime scene investigator
arrived and took possession of the note as evidence.
security footage of the man committing the robbery was made
public, a call was received by the police in which the caller
identified Weigle as the man who had committed the robbery.
The police eventually learned that fingerprints had been
identified on the note, so they requested a comparison of
Weigle's known fingerprints to those on the note. The
known prints and the note were then sent to the Ada County
Crime Lab for analysis. Natasha Wheatley (Wheatley), the
forensic scientist in the lab who specializes in the
processing and evaluating of latent fingerprints, was given
the task of comparing the fingerprints.
analyzed five potential prints to determine if any of them
were of value for comparison. She found one of the prints to
be of sufficient value for comparison (the fingerprint).
Wheatley then compared the fingerprint with Weigle's
known prints. After her analysis, Wheatley concluded that the
fingerprint obtained from the note matched Weigle's left
thumbprint. Wheatley contacted the lead detective and
informed him that the print on the note matched Weigle's.
As a result, a warrant was issued for Weigle's arrest on
October 31, 2016. He was arrested three days later. Weigle
was charged with the felony crime of robbery, in violation of
Idaho Code sections 18-6501 and 6502. The State also sought a
persistent violator sentencing enhancement as set out in
Idaho Code section 19-2514. Weigle's trial began on June
27, 2017, and ended the following day.
preparation for her trial testimony, Wheatley created a
PowerPoint presentation which demonstrated how she compared
the two fingerprints and why she came to the conclusion she
did. At trial, the State moved to admit the presentation
"for demonstrative purposes." No objection was
voiced by defense counsel and the district court admitted the
presentation as State's Exhibit 13. The presentation was
then published to the jury. Wheatley testified about the
presentation, slide-by-slide, explaining how she had compared
and matched the two fingerprints.
deliberations, the jury submitted an inquiry to the court
which read: "We are missing a piece of the State's
evidence: State's Exhibit No. 13, the CD PowerPoint
Presentation that Natasha Wheatley referred to for the
fingerprint analysis." Defense counsel objected and
argued that Exhibit No. 13 should not be given to the jury
during deliberations because it was only admitted for
demonstrative purposes. The district court overruled defense
counsel's objection. The district court gave the
presentation to the jury with an additional handwritten
instruction that read, "Exhibit No. 13 will be submitted
to you as requested. Remember that it was admitted for a
limited purpose and is the subject of Instruction No.
14." Weigle's counsel objected a second
time on the same basis. The objection was again overruled.
jury found Weigle guilty of robbery. Weigle then pleaded
guilty to the persistent violator enhancement. A judgment of
conviction was entered on September 18, 2017. Weigle was
sentenced to a twenty year unified sentence, with the first
six years fixed. Weigle timely appealed. The Court of Appeals
affirmed, finding that Weigle's argument on appeal was
not properly preserved. This Court then granted his petition
STANDARD OF REVIEW
reviewing a case on petition for review from the Court of
Appeals this Court gives due consideration to the decision
reached by the Court of Appeals, but directly reviews the
decision of the trial court." State v.
Schmierer, 159 Idaho 768, 770, 367 P.3d 163, 165 (2016).
defendant appealing from an objected-to,
non-constitutionally-based error shall have the duty to
establish that such an error occurred . . . ." State
v. Perry, 150 Idaho 209, 222, 245 P.3d 961, 974 (2010).
If a defendant can demonstrate error, the burden shifts to
the State to demonstrate "that the error is harmless
beyond a reasonable doubt." Id.