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Baker v. Blades

United States District Court, D. Idaho

December 23, 2019

JOHN KIM BAKER, Petitioner,
RANDY BLADES, Respondent.



         Pending before the Court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Idaho state prisoner John Kim Baker (“Petitioner” or “Baker”). The Petition challenges Petitioner's Ada County conviction of felony eluding, including a persistent violator enhancement. Dkt. 3. The Petition is now fully briefed and ripe for adjudication. The Court takes judicial notice of the records from Petitioner's state court proceedings, which have been lodged by Respondent. Dkt. 13; see Fed. R. Evid. 201(b); Dawson v. Mahoney, 451 F.3d 550, 551 n.1 (9th Cir. 2006).

         All parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all proceedings in this case in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73. See Dkt. 12. Having carefully reviewed the record in this matter, including the state court record, the Court concludes that oral argument is unnecessary. See D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d). Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order denying habeas corpus relief.


         Absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, see 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1), the following facts of Petitioner's case, as described by the Idaho Court of Appeals, are presumed correct:

At 12:03 a.m. on March 31, 2015, Ada County dispatch advised of an attempt to locate a vehicle regarding a possible aggravated assault with a firearm incident that occurred at a hotel located in Boise. Five minutes later, three Ada County Sheriff deputies were en route to assist. Boise Police officers were en route at the same time to investigate the claim of the aggravated assault. One of the deputies located a vehicle, driven by Baker and matching the description of the suspect vehicle, at a drive-thru of a restaurant. The deputy pulled behind Baker after he left the drive-thru and engaged his overhead lights. The deputy testified that the suspect vehicle then fled, attempting to elude. Thereafter, a chase ensued through two large store parking lots, twice around a hotel, and then back to the store parking lots. During this time, the deputy's flashing overhead lights were on as well as the deputy's auxiliary front, back, and side lights. Baker then drove through the parking lot of a strip mall, over a curb, and started driving east in the westbound lanes of Overland Road. Baker eventually corrected into the eastbound lanes, turned south on Cole Road, and entered the freeway. Both Ada County Sheriff's office and Boise Police units were involved in the pursuit with their lights and sirens on. The deputy in the lead position testified that Baker was driving between 110 and 120 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit was 65 miles per hour. The pursuit was terminated at 12:19 a.m.
Prior to this, the deputy had requested assistance from the Elmore County Sheriff's office to deploy spike strips in the area near the Ada and Elmore County line. However, because the pursuit was terminated prior to the arrival of the deputies from Elmore County, the Elmore County deputies did not deploy spike strips and instead returned to cover I-84 Exits 90 and 95, because there was some concern Baker would try to enter Mountain Home through one of these exits. While positioned at the exits, there was some testimony that the deputies' lights may have been deployed, though none of the officers saw Baker's vehicle while waiting at the exits, and they thereafter resumed their normal patrol activities at about 1:00 a.m.
At approximately 2:30 a.m. Elmore County dispatch advised that Baker was reported to be in Elmore County and had made phone calls stating he was going to provoke an incident with officers so that they would shoot him. A sergeant that had previously covered Exit 95 started to travel west on I-84 as dispatch advised that Baker was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of I-84. The sergeant located the vehicle and made a U-turn and deployed his emergency lights while following Baker. Baker turned his headlights on and off to acknowledge the sergeant. The sergeant testified that when he approached with his emergency lights on, Baker fled eastbound on I-84. Baker traveled between thirty-five and forty miles per hour, significantly lower than the posted speed limit of eighty miles per hour. The sergeant pursued Baker with his lights and siren on; however, Baker did not stop. Spike strips were deployed and approximately two miles after Baker's vehicle was disabled by the spike strips, he was arrested ….

State's Lodging B-4 at 1-2.

         Petitioner was charged with misdemeanor eluding a peace officer in Elmore County. He pleaded guilty to that charge and was sentenced to sixty days in jail. Id. at 2- 3.

         Petitioner was later charged, in Ada County, with felony eluding-the charge challenged in the instant petition. Petitioner moved to dismiss, arguing that the prosecution in Ada County violated the Double Jeopardy Clause because Petitioner had been charged with the same offense in Elmore County. The trial court denied the motion. Petitioner pleaded guilty, to both the eluding charge and a persistent violator enhancement, but he reserved the right to appeal the denial of the motion to dismiss. Petitioner was sentenced to a unified term of ten years in prison with two years fixed. Id. at 3. The Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed, and the Idaho Supreme Court denied review. Id. at 3-5; State's Lodging B-7.

         In his federal Petition, Petitioner asserts a single claim: that his felony eluding conviction in Ada County violates the Double Jeopardy Clause because Petitioner was charged and convicted of misdemeanor eluding in Elmore County. Petitioner contends that his avoidance of the police in the early morning hours of March 31, 2015, constituted “one continuing event” in which he intended “to elude police for the entire three hour time frame.” Dkt. 3 at 3-10. Therefore, Petitioner argues, he committed a single offense and could not constitutionally be convicted of two different eluding offenses.


         A federal court may grant habeas corpus relief when it determines that the petitioner “is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). If the state court has adjudicated a claim on the merits, habeas relief is further limited by § 2254(d), as amended by the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). Under ...

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