Cassie Jo Stoddart (Stoddart) was murdered during the night of September 22nd to 23rd, 2006. Brian Draper (Draper), who was sixteen years-old at the time of Stoddart's murder, and Torey Adamcik (Adamcik), who was also a juvenile, were arrested and charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder, tried as adults, and convicted during separate trials. Draper was sentenced to a term of fixed life imprisonment for the murder charge and a life sentence with thirty years fixed for the conspiracy charge. Draper now appeals, raising seven issues. He argues that a) the jury instructions for both murder and conspiracy relieved the State of proving all elements of the crimes and violated his right to due process of law; b) Draper's fourth police interview should have been suppressed as his parents were not present at the interview; c) the jury instructions and the district court's failure to suppress the interview, even if individually
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
A. Events Surrounding Stoddart's Murder
Around August 31, 2006, eighteen-year-old Joe Lucero received a call from Torey Adamcik asking if he would buy some knives for him. Together Adamcik and Lucero went with Draper to a local pawn shop to buy the knives. On the way, they stopped at an ATM so that Draper could withdraw money and, of the $45 paid for the knives, Draper provided $40. Adamcik pointed out one knife and Draper selected three others.
Draper and Adamcik had also begun videotaping snippets of themselves talking about killing. This videotape was later recovered with other evidence used in the murder and, at trial, Draper's counsel argued that this tape was part of a horror movie that Draper and Adamcik were making. Portions of the transcript from the video include the following, from the night before Stoddart's murder:
1. September 21, 2006 at 8:05:23 PM *Adamcik and Draper are in car, Adamcik is driving and Draper is filming from the passenger seat*
2. September 21, 2006 at 8:08:12 PM *Adamcik and Draper sitting in car, Draper is filming Adamcik with the camera light on*
3. September 21, 2006 at 8:15:39 PM *Adamcik and Draper are in car, Adamcik is driving and Draper is filming from the passenger seat*
4. September 21, 2006 at 8:36:46 PM *Adamcik and Draper are in car, Adamcik is driving and Draper is filming from the passenger seat*
The following day, Friday, September 22, Draper and Adamcik again videotaped themselves. The tape includes two segments from that day, the first of which is from the early morning.
5. September 22, 2006 at 08:28:11 AM *Draper walking down school hallway. Draper is talking to someone who appears to be walking with him. He then walks by lockers where Cassie is at her locker.*
The second segment appears to have been recorded around noon of the same day.
6. September 22, 2006 at 12:10:58 PM *Adamcik and Draper sitting at a table with the camera facing them*
A partially burned note was later recovered that may have been the note written at this time. At trial, one of the detectives testified that he believed this note to have been written by Adamcik. The portion of the note that was not burned reads:
On September 22, 2006, Stoddart was spending the night at her cousin's house, the Whispering Cliffs residence, as part of her house-sitting duties. Beckham stated that he and Stoddart had invited Adamcik to the Whispering Cliffs residence that evening to "hang out." Adamcik and Draper arrived at the Whispering Cliffs residence at approximately 6:30 or 7:00 pm. After spending approximately two hours at the Whispering Cliffs residence, Draper informed Stoddart and Beckham that he needed to leave and shortly thereafter Draper and Adamcik departed.
A further section of the videotape appears to have been recorded at this time:
7. September 22, 2006 at 9:53:20 PM *It is dark and Draper and Adamcik are sitting in a car.*
Approximately fifteen minutes after Adamcik and Draper departed, the power at the Whispering Cliffs residence went out; at that time Beckham called his mother to ask for permission to stay the night, however permission was denied. At some point after Beckham left, Stoddart was stabbed to death. The autopsy revealed that she had been stabbed approximately thirty times and twelve of the wounds were considered "potentially fatal." A second examination of the body concluded that two different knives had been used. One knife, with a serrated blade, had inflicted eleven of the twelve potentially fatal wounds. A second, single-bladed and non-serrated knife inflicted one potentially fatal wound and other non-fatal wounds.
A portion of the videotape appears to have been recorded just after the murder.
8. September 22, 2006 at 11:31:56 PM *Adamcik and Draper are in a car driving.*
Stoddart's body was discovered by the owners of the Whispering Cliffs residence when they returned on Sunday, September 24. They called the police who began their investigation.
B. The Police Investigation
Police officers contacted Draper and Adamcik that evening after speaking with Beckham. Draper's first interview was not recorded and Draper was not in custody at that point. Draper said that he and Adamcik had gone to see a movie and, while it was too late to see the movie they had originally intended to see they went to a different movie, Pulse. When asked about the movie, Draper was unable to explain the plot. Draper wrote out a description of what he said occurred during that evening.
On Tuesday evening, September 26, 2006, the officers conducted Draper's second interview. Draper's parents were present but did not go into the interview. Draper was read his Miranda rights before the interview began. Draper initially maintained that he and Adamcik had gone to the movie but, after one of the officers told him that he did not believe that he had gone to the movies, Draper said that he and Adamcik had "gone through" cars and had said they went to a movie to hide that. When he was told that his car burglary story was not convincing, Draper insisted that it was the truth. After the interview, Draper left with his parents.
After the second interview, a detective went to the Draper residence and, with the consent of Draper and his parents, searched Draper's bedroom for gloves and other items related to Stoddart's murder. The detectives
Draper's third interview occurred on Wednesday, September 27, 2006. Draper was again advised of his Miranda rights and again consented to speak. Draper's parents were present for this interview. At this interview, Draper admitted that he and Adamcik unlocked a door at the Whispering Cliffs residence so that they could return to scare Stoddart and Beckham. He also stated that they wore masks, black clothing, and gloves and carried knives with them. Draper stated that after Beckham left, they went upstairs and Adamcik stabbed Stoddart. Draper said that he thought that it was a joke to scare him and only later realized that Stoddart was actually being stabbed. Draper denied that he had ever touched or stabbed Stoddart. Draper also stated that he had talked to Adamcik earlier that day and that Adamcik had threatened to kill him if he told the authorities the truth. Draper also agreed to show the officers where he and Adamcik had attempted to dispose of items used in Stoddart's murder.
Draper went with several detectives and his father to the Black Rock Canyon area and directed the detectives to a site where evidence from the murder was buried. The evidence located included:
At this point Draper was arrested and spent the night of September 27-28 in the Bannock County jail. Shortly after noon on Thursday, September 28, Draper was interviewed for a fourth time. Although the police attempted to contact Draper's parents they were unable to do so. Draper, after again being given his Miranda rights and being told that he could have his parents present, agreed to go ahead with the interview. Draper initially repeated that Adamcik was the only person who stabbed Stoddart. After one of the officers asked whether Draper stabbed Stoddart to keep Adamcik from turning on him, Draper nodded. Draper then admitted to stabbing Stoddart four times in the leg and chest. Draper said that Adamcik had told him "you need to stab her, you need to stab her." After stabbing Stoddart in the leg, Draper stated that Adamcik told him "it's not going to work, she has to die." Shortly after, at about thirteen minutes into the interview, Draper asked if he could see his parents and the officers ended the interview.
C. Draper's Trial
Draper and Adamcik were each charged with one count of murder in the first degree and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree. They each moved to sever the trials and the district court granted the motions. Draper also filed a motion to suppress his fourth interview, arguing that, because his parents were not present, he had not voluntarily consented to the interview. The district court denied this motion, finding that, in light of the totality of the circumstances, Draper voluntarily waived his right to remain silent and that his parents had not unequivocally invoked Draper's right to counsel.
After trial by jury, Draper was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree. The jury instructions mirrored the Idaho Criminal Jury Instructions and did not include an instruction on aiding and abetting, nor did they include a definition of willfulness. Draper's motion for a new trial was denied by the district court.
D. Draper's Sentencing and Appeal
Following the jury's verdict, the district court ordered a presentence investigation (PSI), including a psychological evaluation. The district court's order allowed Draper's parents to sit in on the investigator's presentence interview with Draper. The investigator then wrote to the district court, asking that Draper's parents not be allowed to sit in on the interview, stating:
As a result, the district court ruled that Draper's parents could not attend his presentence interview.
Before sentencing, Draper objected to the contents of the PSI, arguing that the investigator was biased and that the PSI did not conform to the dictates of Idaho Criminal Rule 32, which outlines the form and content of presentence investigations. The district court denied this motion, finding that, although not perfect, the PSI complied with Rule 32.
Before pronouncing sentence, the district judge discussed the brutal nature of the crime and stated that he was convinced that if Draper "were released, that you would kill again. I'm convinced of that beyond a reasonable doubt." Based on these conclusions, the district court sentenced Draper to a fixed life sentence for his first degree murder conviction and an indeterminate life sentence, with thirty years fixed, for conspiracy to commit first degree murder.
Draper filed a motion under I.C.R. 35 for correction of his sentence. The motion included submissions from Draper's parents, from Draper, and from the Department of Correction, detailing his attempts to rehabilitate himself. The district court viewed this as a motion for leniency under I.C.R. 35 and found that the submissions did not change the court's initial view that the sentences imposed were reasonable.
Draper timely appealed.
A. Jury Instructions
Draper makes two arguments that the jury instructions in his case constituted reversible error. He argues that the failure to define "willfulness" in the murder instruction was error, as was the inclusion of "purpose" as one of the overt acts in the elements of conspiracy. He notes that counsel failed to raise these objections at trial but argues that the claimed errors in the jury instructions constitute fundamental error.
1. Standard of Review
State v. Anderson, 144 Idaho 743, 748, 170 P.3d 886, 891 (2007).
2. Fundamental Error
For both the murder and conspiracy instructions, the State argues that because Draper did not object to the instructions at trial (indeed, with regard to the murder instruction, Draper's counsel did not submit a definition of willfulness in his proposed jury instructions), these assignments of error are not reviewable for the first time on appeal.
With regard to the murder instruction, the State argues that because Draper has failed to allege any actual error, Draper's argument cannot rise to the level of fundamental error. Similarly, with regard to the instruction for conspiracy, the State argues that the jury could have only understood the instruction correctly. These arguments avoid the issue. Draper's argument is that the jury instructions relieved the State of its duty to prove all elements of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. If these arguments are correct, Draper has been denied his right to due process and those errors would rise to the level of fundamental error. "The United States Supreme Court has held that in criminal trials `the State must prove every element of the offense, and a jury instruction violates due process if it fails to give effect to that requirement.'" Anderson, 144 Idaho at 749, 170 P.3d at 892 (quoting Middleton v. McNeil, 541 U.S. 433, 437, 124 S.Ct. 1830, 1832-33, 158 L.Ed.2d 701, 707 (2004)). Here, if the instruction omitted a contested element of the crime, it would have violated Draper's due process rights and would consequently rise to the level of fundamental error.
3. Murder Jury Instruction
Draper argues that the jury instructions for murder were misleading. He points to the language in Instruction 13 which states:
Draper argues that by failing to define willfulness, the court relieved the State of its burden of proving one of the elements of the
We reject these arguments. First, because the premeditation is only referable to Stoddart's murder (i.e. not some intent to kill that was not manifested), the jury evidently found an intent to commit the murder Draper was charged with. Second, "[t]erms which are of common usage and are sufficiently generally understood need not be further defined when instructing the jury." State v. Zichko, 129 Idaho 259, 264, 923 P.2d 966, 971 (1996) (citing State v. Gonzales, 92 Idaho 152, 156, 438 P.2d 897, 901 (1968)). The jury was instructed that, in order to issue a guilty verdict on the first degree murder charge, the murder had to be a "willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing." Both willful and deliberate are included. The common understandings of willful and deliberate include an intention to commit the particular act. See, e.g., Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary 1433 (11th ed. 2003) ("Willful ... 2: done deliberately: Intentional.").
We find that the jury was instructed to and did find that Draper decided to kill Stoddart, had the actual intent to kill her, and did, in fact, kill Stoddart.
4. Conspiracy Jury Instruction
Draper's jury instructions for conspiracy, as read to the jury and as included in the record as the original instructions, changed the seventh element of the instruction to be a fifth "overt act." The instruction stated:
In reviewing jury instructions, the Court has noted that an "instruction complained of must be read and construed with the other instructions given." Bushong v. Kamiah Grain Inc., 96 Idaho 659, 661, 534 P.2d 1099, 1101 (1975). Likewise,
The State is correct that the "done for the purpose" instruction does not constitute an act. However, it is impossible to say whether a reasonable jury would have determined that it was required to find beyond a reasonable doubt that one of the four preceding overt acts was committed for the purpose of furthering the agreement to commit first degree murder. When the instruction states that "one of the parties to the agreement performed at least one of the following acts" and then presents a list, the obvious message was that the jury was only required to find one item on the list to be true beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict Draper of conspiracy. The failure to clearly require the jury to find that an overt act was committed for the purpose of advancing the conspiracy relieved the State of its burden of proving every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
A jury need not consider instructions that are mere surplusage. State v. Pratt, 125 Idaho 546, 559-60, 873 P.2d 800, 813-14 (1993). If the jurors found one of the first four items on the list to be true, i.e., that Draper purchased knives, traveled to the Whispering Cliffs residence to commit murder, retrieved clothing, a mask and murder weapons from the vehicle, or lay in wait downstairs in preparation for the murder, they may have viewed the "for the purpose of" language as surplusage, thus eliminating the requirement that the State prove one element of the crime. For example, the jury could easily have found that Draper purchased and/or received the knives used in Stoddart's murder, but stopped there without considering whether this was for the purpose of furthering the agreement with Adamcik to murder Stoddart.
Three other considerations bear note here. First, there is the fact that the jury instructions were renumbered by hand. When a hand-written correction exists, the logical inference is that it was, in fact, a correction. That is, the prior version was incorrect and the revision was intended to correct the error. That indicates that the "for the purpose" language was merely one of the available options within the list of overt acts and that the jury only needed to find one of them to be true in order to convict. To conclude otherwise, one would have to assume that the jury knew the law better than the judge and that it ignored the instruction that states "[i]f anyone states a rule of law different from any I tell you, it is my instruction that you must follow." Second, there is the fact that the jury never asked the judge about the meaning of the conspiracy charge.
There is undoubtedly some disconnect between the "one of the following" instruction and the inclusion of the "for the purpose of" instruction in that element of conspiracy. While the argument advanced by the State is not unreasonable, it is impossible to say that a reasonable jury could not have read the instruction to omit the required element that an overt act occurred in the furtherance of the conspiracy. Garcia v. Windley, 144 Idaho 539, 543, 164 P.3d 819, 823 (2007) ("An erroneous instruction is prejudicial when it could have affected or did affect the outcome of the trial.").
The State further argues that if the conspiracy instruction was erroneous, such error was harmless.
This statement in Perry was based, in part, upon the United States Supreme Court's decision in Neder v. U.S., 527 U.S. 1, 119 S.Ct. 1827, 144 L.Ed.2d 35 (1999). In Neder, the Court stated: "Unlike such defects as the complete deprivation of counsel or trial before a biased judge, an instruction that omits an element of the offense does not necessarily render a criminal trial fundamentally unfair or an unreliable vehicle for determining guilt or innocence." Id. at 9, 119 S.Ct. 1827 (emphasis original). The Court concluded that "where a reviewing court concludes beyond a reasonable doubt that the omitted element was uncontested and supported by overwhelming evidence, such that
We are unable to conclude that the error was harmless because the defense vigorously contested the omitted element, asserting that Draper's conduct, including the four overt acts charged in the information, was not intended to further a conspiracy to commit first degree murder. Indeed, Draper's defense to the conspiracy charge was that his actions were intended as a joke to scare Stoddart, but that Adamcik then surprised him by attacking Stoddart.
B. Draper's motion to suppress his fourth interview was properly denied.
1. Standard of Review
State v. Frederick, 149 Idaho 509, 512, 236 P.3d 1269, 1272 (2010). "A district court's conclusion that a defendant made a knowing and voluntary waiver of his Miranda rights will only be disturbed on appeal if the conclusion is not supported by substantial and competent evidence." State v. Payne, 146 Idaho 548, 558, 199 P.3d 123, 133 (2008) (citing State v. Varie, 135 Idaho 848, 851, 26 P.3d 31, 34 (2001)).
When examining a juvenile's waiver of his Miranda rights, the Court looks to the totality of the circumstances.
Fare v. Michael C., 442 U.S. 707, 725, 99 S.Ct. 2560, 2572, 61 L.Ed.2d 197, 212 (1979).
2. The District Court's Determination
Draper's fourth interview occurred on September 28, 2006. The day before, during his third interview, Draper had admitted to being present at Stoddart's murder but said that only Adamcik stabbed Stoddart. Draper then went with several detectives and his father to the Black Rock Canyon area where they located a variety of evidence including the knives, clothing used in the attack, the partially burnt paper that included a number of references to killing including the phrase "Brian kills" and "We murder Cassie," the videotape of Draper and Adamcik, and other evidence admitted at trial. Draper was placed under arrest that evening.
During the fourth interview, Draper stated that, after Adamcik repeatedly stabbed Stoddart, Draper stabbed her as well but only because Adamcik told him to and only reluctantly. Shortly after making this admission, Draper asked for his parents and the interview ended. Before trial, Draper moved to suppress the fourth interview and any further evidence gained as a result of that interview.
In response to Draper's motion to suppress, the district court made a variety of findings of fact:
Given these findings, the district court denied Draper's motion to suppress, finding that he had knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to remain silent and right to counsel.
3. Draper's motion to suppress was properly denied.
Draper does not dispute the district court's findings of fact and we note that all of those findings are supported by substantial and competent evidence. Draper's main argument on appeal concerns the role of promises of assistance made by the police. This Court has stated:
State v. Alger, 100 Idaho 675, 679-80, 603 P.2d 1009, 1013-14 (1979). That is, a court focuses on the totality of the circumstances, including the defendant's age and the effect of any promises made. The district court did exactly this. Based upon the record presented to the district court, there is no evidence that the promises of leniency, alone or in conjunction with Draper's age, overwhelmed Draper's ability to refuse to speak with the officers.
As the Court addressed in State v. Doe, a court looks to six factors to determine whether a confession was voluntary.
137 Idaho 519, 523, 50 P.3d 1014, 1018 (2002) (quoting State v. Troy, 124 Idaho 211, 214, 858 P.2d 750, 753 (1993)). As indicated by the findings of fact quoted above, these were exactly the issues that the district court considered. "[T]he power to judge the credibility of the witnesses, resolve any conflicts in the testimony, weigh the evidence and draw factual inferences, is vested in the trial court." State v. Valdez-Molina, 127 Idaho 102, 106, 897 P.2d 993, 997 (1995) (quoting State v. Kirkwood, 111 Idaho 623, 625, 726 P.2d 735, 737 (1986)). We note that Draper never asked for specific findings of fact with regard to the promises of leniency and that the district court apparently placed little weight on the role of the promises of the police. We further note that Draper never offered any evidence that would tend to link the promises of leniency to the incriminating statements that occurred during the fourth interview. Indeed, it appears that most of Draper's statements were motivated by his being confronted with prior inconsistencies and false statements. Based upon these factors and the district court's findings of fact, the district court properly found that the waiver of Draper's Miranda rights was not coerced.
We find that Draper made a knowing and voluntary waiver of his Miranda rights, that he was not coerced, and that the district court properly denied Draper's motion to suppress.
C. Cumulative Error
Draper argues that the combination of the jury instructions and the use of the fourth interview at trial, even if individually they do not constitute reversible error, collectively constitute cumulative error that warrants reversal. "[T]he cumulative error doctrine requires reversal of a conviction when there is `an accumulation of irregularities, each of which by itself might be harmless, but when aggregated, the errors show the absence of a fair trial, in contravention of the defendant's constitutional right to due process.'" State v. Field, 144 Idaho 559, 572-73, 165 P.3d 273, 286-87 (2007) (quoting State v. Moore, 131 Idaho 814, 823, 965 P.2d 174, 183 (1998)). The cumulative error doctrine is inapplicable to Draper's case. Although there was reversible error in the conspiracy instruction, there was no error affecting the conviction for first degree murder. We therefore find that Draper has not shown
D. Draper's Presentence Report
1. The Boundaries of Idaho Criminal Rule 32
Idaho Criminal Rule 32 allows a judge to order a PSI for use in the sentencing phase of a trial. As envisioned by Criminal Rule 32, the PSI "is used to assist the `court in individualizing a rational sentence for the defendant. Simply put, the compelling need for information about the defendant at sentencing cannot be arbitrarily disregarded.'" State v. Romero, 116 Idaho 391, 393-94, 775 P.2d 1233, 1235-36 (1989) (quoting Idaho Judge's Sentencing Manual § 5.52). Draper points to two areas of the PSI that, he argues, fail to comply with I.C.R. 32.
Rule 32 specifies the following contents of a PSI:
I.C.R. 32(b). The Rule also specifies the role of the investigator, as distinct from those areas that are particularly within the province of the district court.
The court of appeals has stated:
2. The Nature of the Investigation and the Substance of the Report
Draper raises objections to both the form of the investigation process and the substance of the final report. He points to questions such as "I questioned Brian as to why they took real knives," "I questioned Brian about when [Stoddart] was stabbed in the back," "I asked Brian why he did not try to get away while Torey was turning the lights back on if he was afraid of him," and "I questioned Brian about telling the truth because he was facing a polygraph test [on] that date." These and other statements in the PSI, Draper argues, "were pointed questions designed to illicit [sic] further incriminating statements from Brian about the crime and circumstances surrounding the crime."
There are two conflicting principles in assessing whether this questioning violates Criminal Rule 32. The first is the point that Draper focuses on, that investigatory questioning is not an opportunity to present "the defendant's version of the criminal act and the defendant's explanation for the act...." I.C.R. 32(b)(1). The rule also states that "conjecture and speculation should not be included in the presentence report." I.C.R. 32(e)(1). These indicate that the report is to be a neutral document and not an opportunity to simply advocate for the State's position.
However, the primary purpose of a PSI is to assist the district court in sentencing. It includes the "presentence investigator's analysis of the defendant's condition ... [including] a complete summary of the presentence investigator's view of the psychological factors surrounding the commission of the crime or regarding the defendant individually which the investigator discovers." I.C.R. 32(b)(10). In order to adequately prepare this analysis and to assess the ways in which the defendant is accepting responsibility and cooperating in his or her rehabilitation, an investigator must go beyond simply accepting a narrative from the defendant. Rule 32 does not prohibit questioning the defendant. Viewing the PSI as a whole we find that the questioning in this case did not violate Rule 32.
Draper further argues that the PSI demonstrated the bias of the investigator. This comes much closer to violating the dictates of Rule 32. The PSI concludes that Draper:
Although this is followed by the statement that "probation is not a viable option in this matter" the statement that "society cannot take a second chance" straddles the line between recommending incarceration, as allowed by the Rule, and actively recommending a fixed life sentence, which is impermissible according to the Rule. I.C.R. 32(c) ("The presentence report may recommend incarceration but it should not contain specific recommendations concerning the length of incarceration...."). Nevertheless, in light of the fact that the district judge recognized that the investigator (and, by implication, the PSI) was "not perfect," the fact that no specific sentence was, in fact, recommended, and the fact that there is no evidence that the district judge saw this as a recommendation of a fixed-life sentence, we cannot find that it was in violation of I.C.R. 32. We note, however, that this language was inappropriate and came close to crossing the line. In the future, presentence investigators would do well to avoid this kind of rhetoric.
3. The Refusal to Allow Draper's Parents to Attend the Presentence Interview
Initially, the district court ruled that Draper could have his parents present during
Based on this, the district court reversed its earlier decision, stating that "given the serious nature of the crime that was committed in this case, I'm going to defer to [the investigator's] request and it will be ordered that she can interview Draper without parents." This, perhaps more than the other issues regarding the PSI, is troubling. First, as noted above, I.C.R. 32 contemplates a neutral document for the use of the court in sentencing. It states that the trial judge is to order the PSI and, as such, it is the domain of the trial judge to determine the procedure for the interview. Second, as the investigator was not a party to the case, he or she has no standing to make a motion to the court. Simply put, it was not the investigator's role to request a different procedure for the PSI.
Draper argues that the refusal to allow his parents to attend the presentence interview violated his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. This Court, in ruling that a psychosexual evaluation ordered by the trial court required access to counsel, stated:
Estrada v. State, 143 Idaho 558, 562, 149 P.3d 833, 837 (2006). More recently, the court of appeals, drawing on Estrada and the holdings of other state and federal courts, found that a routine presentence investigation did not constitute a critical stage of the proceedings and that counsel was not guaranteed. Stuart v. State, 145 Idaho 467, 470, 180 P.3d 506, 509 (Ct.App.2007).
Against this, Draper argues that the general right against self-incrimination extends to sentencing proceedings. While Draper is correct in this regard, it does not assist him. He had the opportunity to refuse to participate in the presentence interview although he did not choose to. Notably, Estrada focuses on the fact that the defendant there only wished to have counsel advise him prior to the psychosexual evaluation.
Estrada, 143 Idaho at 562, 149 P.3d at 837. Even without reaching the question of whether counsel is required for presentence interviews, Estrada limits its holding to the advice of counsel prior to participating in the investigation. Draper had access to that advice.
We find that the district judge did not commit reversible error by excluding Draper's parents from the PSI interview.
E. Draper's fixed life sentence for the murder of Stoddart does not constitute unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.
Draper argues that, because he was a juvenile at the time of the crime, his fixed life sentence constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions. U.S. Const. amend. VIII; Idaho Const. art. I, § 6.
1. Standard of Review
The requirements of the Idaho and U.S. Constitutions are questions of law, over which this Court has free review. Stuart v. State, 149 Idaho 35, 40, 232 P.3d 813, 818 (2010). In determining whether a punishment is categorically prohibited by the Eighth Amendment,
Graham v. Florida, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 130 S.Ct. 2011, 2022, 176 L.Ed.2d 825, 837 (2010).
2. The Eighth Amendment Prohibition of Cruel and Unusual Punishments
Draper argues that, by the same reasoning the U.S. Supreme Court applied in Roper to find that death sentences for juveniles constituted cruel and unusual punishment, fixed life sentences for juveniles are likewise cruel and unusual punishment. He notes that, in Graham, the Court applied a similar analysis to find all non-homicide fixed life sentences to constitute cruel and unusual punishment. These cases, he argues, compel a decision by this Court that fixed life sentences for juveniles convicted of homicide are likewise unconstitutional. Draper has not argued that his sentence is disproportionate to his crime under the analysis enunciated in Graham.
However, in Graham and Roper, the U.S. Supreme Court specifically distinguished homicide. In Kennedy the majority wrote:
554 U.S. at 438, 128 S.Ct. 2641, 2660, 171 L.Ed.2d 525, 550 (2008). In Graham, the Court cited Kennedy specifically to differentiate non-homicide crimes. Graham, ___ U.S. at ___, 130 S.Ct. at 2027, 176 L.Ed.2d 825, 842 ("The Court has recognized that defendants who do not kill, intend to kill, or foresee that life will be taken are categorically less deserving of the most serious forms of punishment than are murderers."). Likewise, in Roper, the Court approvingly noted instances where the death penalty for juveniles was commuted to life without parole (including Roper's own sentence). 543 U.S. at 560, 564-65, 125 S.Ct. 1183, 1189-90, 1192-93, 161 L.Ed.2d 1, 18-19. Finally, in our recent decision in State v. Windom, this Court noted the "clear line of demarcation" in Eighth Amendment analysis between homicide and non-homicide offenses in Graham and Kennedy. State v. Windom, 150 Idaho 873, 253 P.3d 310, 317 n. 2 (2011).
While it is possible that a national consensus against fixed life sentences for juveniles convicted of homicide crimes may develop at some point,
3. The Idaho Constitution's Prohibition on Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Draper further argues that, even if the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would permit a fixed life sentence, the Idaho Constitution would forbid it under Article I, Section 6. This Court's analysis of whether a sentence violates Article I, Section 6, has traditionally tracked the U.S. Supreme Court's Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. See, e.g., State v. Brown, 121 Idaho 385, 393-94, 825 P.2d 482, 490-91 (1992) (modifying the Court's Article I, Section 6 proportionality analysis based on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S. 957, 111 S.Ct. 2680, 115 L.Ed.2d 836 (1991)). Draper has not pointed to any Article I, Section 6 analysis that would implicate "the concerns of this Court and the `uniqueness of our state, our Constitution, and our long-standing jurisprudence.'" Rhoades v. State, 149 Idaho 130, 139, 233 P.3d 61, 70 (2010) (quoting State v. Donato, 135 Idaho 469, 472, 20 P.3d 5, 8 (2001)). Rather, Draper points to the statement in State v. Broadhead, 120 Idaho 141, 146, 814 P.2d 401, 406 (1991), overruled on other grounds by State v. Brown, 121 Idaho 385, 825 P.2d 482 (1992), that "[i]n modifying sentences, the Court has given great weight to the age of a defendant...." (Quoting State v. Adams, 99 Idaho 75, 79, 577 P.2d 1123, 1127 (1978) (Bistline, J. dissenting)). Notably, this statement came in the context of an analysis of the reasonableness of the sentence rather than the constitutionality of that sentence. As the Court noted in Broadhead, "[i]n reviewing the reasonableness of a sentence, we are exercising our authority as an appellate court to determine whether the trial court abused its discretion. In deciding whether a sentence is cruel and unusual, we must decide whether it is proportional." 120 Idaho at 146, 814 P.2d at 406 (internal citation omitted). Likewise, in Windom, we refused to conflate the analysis of whether a sentence constitutes cruel and unusual punishment with the issue of whether a court abused its discretion in imposing a sentence. 150 Idaho at ___, 253 P.3d at 317 n. 2 ("[I]t is neither necessary nor appropriate to confuse our well-established standard of review of a trial court's sentencing decision by selective application of statements found in decisions defining the scope of Eighth Amendment protections."). Thus, whether the district court considered Draper's age in applying his sentence is a question of the district court's discretion, rather than a categorical determination of whether the sentence was unconstitutional and is treated below.
Draper's fixed life sentence for murder does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the U.S. or Idaho Constitutions.
F. The district court did not abuse its discretion by imposing a fixed life sentence for Draper's conviction of first degree murder.
1. Standard of Review
"When a sentence is within the statutory limits, we will review the sentence for an abuse of discretion." State v. Farwell, 144 Idaho 732, 734-35, 170 P.3d 397, 399-400 (2007) (citing State v. Knighton, 143 Idaho 318, 319, 144 P.3d 23, 24 (2006)). "A sentence is reasonable if at the time of imposition it appears necessary to achieve `the primary objective of protecting society and to achieve any or all of the related goals of deterrence, rehabilitation or retribution applicable
Imposing a fixed life sentence "requires a high degree of certainty that the perpetrator could never be safely released back into society or that the nature of the offense requires that the individual spend the rest of his life behind bars." State v. Stevens, 146 Idaho 139, 149, 191 P.3d 217, 227 (2008) (quoting State v. Cross, 132 Idaho 667, 672, 978 P.2d 227, 232 (1999)). "When reviewing a fixed life sentence, the primary factors considered are the gravity of the offense and/or the need to protect society from the defendant." Windom, 150 Idaho at ___, 253 P.3d at 313 (quoting State v. Cannady, 137 Idaho 67, 73, 44 P.3d 1122, 1128 (2002)).
2. The District Court's Consideration of the Severity of Draper's Crime and the Goals of Protecting Society, Deterrence, Rehabilitation, and Retribution
At the sentencing hearing, the district judge highlighted findings of Alan Brantley, an FBI profiler, and Dr. Hazenbuehler, the psychologist appointed to evaluate Draper. He noted their findings that Draper was "a severely disturbed individual" and that Draper was "an entirely different individual than portrayed by [his] family members and friends, and also that [he] should not be released into society." He concluded that "based on all the evidence and all that I've read, I'm convinced that if you two [referring to Draper and Adamcik], or either one of you, were released, that you would kill again. I'm convinced of that beyond a reasonable doubt."
Draper further highlights two particular statements by the district court, including that "[t]eenage killers perhaps should receive no mercy. I don't know." He also notes that the district court stated that "I'm not unmindful of how young you fellows are, but you commit a crime of this nature and it's got to be—it's got to be known, not only by those who commit it, but to others in the community that punishment would not—will not be so merciful. There's no mercy." These statements, Draper argues, indicate that the district court viewed his age as a solely aggravating factor in determining the sentence. This is incorrect. The statement "I'm not unmindful of how young you fellows are," and the earlier statement that "you are so young" directly address Draper's age as a potentially mitigating circumstance. In addition, the entire sentencing hearing was focused on the planning and execution of Stoddart's murder and the importance of protecting society. This Court looks to the entire record on appeal in light of the objectives of sentencing to determine whether a sentence was an abuse of discretion. Stevens, 146 Idaho at 148, 191 P.3d at 226. In this context, it is not that the district court disregarded Draper's age but that the indications that Draper remained a danger to society outweighed that potentially mitigating circumstance.
We note that, as the district court stated, Stoddart's murder was "a barbarous and cold-blooded horrific act." She was stabbed numerous times with multiple potentially fatal wounds. There was substantial evidence that this murder was part of a long-term plan by Draper and Adamcik and that it was the first in a planned spree of killings. We further note that the videotape includes Draper's statement that "I just killed Cassie." These facts, combined with the constantly shifting nature of Draper's story to police and before the court and the evidence that he wielded the serrated knife that inflicted the majority of the wounds, suggests that he does pose a continuing danger to society and will for the remainder of his life. These facts lead us to reject Draper's argument that the district court's decision could not have been based on substantial and competent evidence because the reports of Mr. Brantley and Dr. Hazenbuehler assessed Draper as a "medium" risk to reoffend in a similar fashion. In light of the assessment of even a medium risk of reoffending and the brutal and premeditated nature of this particular offense, there was substantial and competent evidence to support the district court's finding.
G. The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Draper's motion for a reduction of his sentence under Idaho Criminal Rule 35.
1. Standard of Review
Farwell, 144 Idaho at 735, 170 P.3d at 400 (internal citations and quotations omitted). "If the sentence was not excessive when pronounced, the defendant must later show that it is excessive in view of new or additional information presented with the motion for reduction." State v. Knighton, 143 Idaho 318, 320, 144 P.3d 23, 25 (2006).
2. The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Draper's Rule 35 motion.
Draper contends that the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion for a correction of sentence under I.C.R. 35. He points to statements provided by Draper and his parents as well as a progress report from the Department of Correction and additional documents that he provided with his Rule 35 motion. These, he argues, "demonstrate that Brian has rehabilitative potential and still continues to strive to make [sic] for his actions and [Stoddart's] death." It is unclear whether Draper is arguing that the district court did not consider that additional evidence and thus abused its discretion, or whether he is arguing that, based on the additional information, the district court acted outside the bounds of its discretion. In either case, Draper's argument fails.
The district court did consider the additional information. The court properly concluded that the motion was effectively a request for leniency. Similar testimony as to Draper's character and his characterization of the events surrounding Stoddart's murder were presented at sentencing. Nevertheless, the court "reviewed everything again — including the new documents ... filed." In light of its review, the district court stated that "[t]he killing of Cassie Stoddart was not done on a whim. It was carefully planned— and intentional, senseless, brutal, barbaric conduct." The district court did not ignore the Rule 35 motion but declined to alter the sentence in light of Draper's additional submissions. In short, the additional evidence was considered but did not change the trial court's original views.
We therefore find that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Draper's I.C.R. 35 motion.
We find that there was no error in the murder instruction. The jury instruction regarding the elements of conspiracy to commit
Chief Justice BURDICK and Justice EISMANN concur.
J. JONES, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part.
I concur with the Court's opinion except for (1) Part II.A.4, regarding the conspiracy jury instruction, (2) the reference in Part II.C. to the instruction as constituting reversible error, and (3) the conclusion in Part III that the conspiracy conviction must be vacated. I do not believe that the misnumbering on the instruction was such as to cause jury confusion and, in any event, it did not constitute fundamental error. I would uphold the conspiracy conviction.
Instruction No. 17 was not fatally defective. Although the seventh element of the conspiracy charge was misnumbered by the addition of a handwritten "5" over the typed "7," the renumbering did not change the meaning or context of the instruction. The sixth element of the conspiracy charge called for proof that "one of the parties to the agreement performed at least one of the following acts," then listed four factual situations, each stating dates, Draper's name, and a description of events that were directed toward commission of the murder of Cassie Stoddart. The misnumbered element, "such act was done for the purpose of carrying out the agreement," contained none of these factual situations. The misnumbered item had the same margin as the other six elements of the conspiracy charge, rather than the indented margin of the four factual situations listed in the sixth element. The first word in the misnumbered element began with a lower case letter, indicating its connection to the other six elements, rather than to the four factual situations listed under the sixth element, in all of which the first word began with a capital letter. The word "act" in the misnumbered element could only refer back to the "following acts" referenced in the introduction of the sixth element, since that word appears nowhere else in the instruction. It is unlikely that a rational jury's attention would be focused on the numeral five that had been renumbered, rather than on the substance of the text, which was the critical part necessary for the jury to carry out its responsibility.
Turning to the substance of Instruction No. 17, any infirmity in the misnumbered seventh element was cured by the substance of the four factual situations listed under element six. The jury was instructed to find that Draper had performed at least one of those factual situations and it must be assumed that the jury complied with the instruction. Pursuant to the first five elements of the instruction, the jury found that Draper had agreed with Adamcik to commit the crime of murder in the first degree. Each of the factual situations in the sixth element described certain facts and then ended with the conclusion that the actions were performed to commit, or for the commission of, the murder of Cassie Stoddart, which was the subject of the agreement. Had this concluding phrase been left off of any of the four factual situations, Draper may have a better argument. However, the concluding phrase on each of the four factual situations essentially furnished the seventh element of the conspiracy, making the misnumbered seventh element largely superfluous. Rational jurors could not have concluded that any of the four factual situations was performed for any purpose other than to carry out the subject matter of the agreement—commission of the murder of Cassie Stoddart.
Furthermore, jury instructions are to be viewed as a whole because "[i]t is well established
This is not a case where an element of the offense was omitted. Rather, the instruction was complete, but one element was merely mislabeled. However, even if one were to consider this as an omitted element instruction, it would pass the harmless error test. In State v. Perry, we stated:
150 Idaho 209, 224, 245 P.3d 961, 976 (2010). The evidence in this case overwhelmingly supports Draper's conviction for conspiracy to commit first degree murder. No rational jury could have found that the State failed to prove the seventh element of the charged offense. Although Draper does contest that element, such contest must be viewed in context of the six elements of the charged offense which the jury found to have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury found that, "On or between the 22
There is overwhelming evidence in the record to support Draper's conviction for first degree murder and to support his conviction for conspiring to commit that murder. Any contention that Draper only intended to scare Stoddart as a joke, and not to murder her, rings hollow in light of his first degree murder conviction. I would uphold both convictions. They are inseparable.
W. JONES, Justice, concurring in part and dissenting in part.
I concur in the majority Opinion in all respects but for Section II A(4) in which the
First, with respect to the remainder of the majority Opinion, I write separately only for the purpose of reconciling my dissent in State v. Windom, 150 Idaho 873, 253 P.3d 310 (2011), with the Court's holding in Section II F(2) affirming Draper's fixed life sentence for first degree murder. In Windom, I stated that the district court abused its discretion when it imposed a fixed-life sentence on a sixteen-year-old boy with a severe mental illness because an offender's individual characteristics are, in my opinion, relevant to the reprehensibility of a crime, contrary to the majority's holding in Windom that these individual characteristics need not be taken into consideration in determining reprehensibility. 150 Idaho at ___, 253 P.3d at 320-22. As I explained there, "[a] crime is less reprehensible—and therefore potentially less deserving of severe retribution—if the criminal has personally mitigating circumstances." Id. at ___, 253 P.3d at 321-22. The Majority here analogizes this case to Windom and holds, consistent with the majority in Windom, that the nature of the crime alone is sufficient to support the fixed-life sentence. Under the facts of this particular case, I agree with the Court's conclusion affirming the fixed-life sentence, but not
The district court's imposition of a fixed-life sentence here is consistent with my dissent in Windom because, given Draper's individual characteristics, the reprehensibility of this crime fully supports the fixed-life sentence. There are substantial and important differences between the facts of Windom and this case. The main similarity between the two cases is that both Draper and Windom were sixteen years of age and committed murder in a particularly heinous way: Draper by stabbing a friend to death with 37 stab wounds and Windom by beating his mother to death with a dumbbell. However, other than their respective ages at the time the crimes were committed, I do not find parallels in their individual characteristics such that I believe the district court abused its discretion in imposing a fixed-life sentence on Draper. Windom, on the other hand, had a psychotic disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, which caused him to kill his mother. Id. at ___, 253 P.3d at 322-23. Draper had no such psychotic disorder. The only evidence here relates to personality disorders, not psychosis.
In the present case, there is no evidence that Draper suffered from any pathological drive or desire that caused him to commit this crime. Rather, as shown in the video tape of Draper and his co-conspirator, Adamcik, the evidence shows that Draper murdered Stoddart in an attempt to achieve fame in the same manner as the Columbine killers. The facts here simply do not indicate that Draper, unlike Windom, killed as a result of a serious mental illness which can be properly treated. Indeed, the facts show that Draper killed to achieve fame by not only killing Stoddart, but also intending to kill individuals to exceed the number of deaths in the Columbine killings.
Also, in contrast to Draper, Windom reported his homicidal thoughts to authority figures and continually sought help for his mental illness weeks before the murder but was never taken seriously. Draper, on the other hand, secretly plotted and planned the murder of Cassie Stoddart days before the killing, which was to be a "tune up" or practice before other intended killings.
Because I believe that under these circumstances the reprehensibility of the crime fully supports the fixed life sentence imposed here, I agree with the Majority that there is no need to consider rehabilitation in this case and that Draper's sentence was not an abuse of discretion and should be affirmed.
With respect to my dissent from the Majority's vacation of the conspiracy conviction in Section IIA(4), I agree that there was error in the court's instruction regarding the elements required to prove conspiracy but, unlike the Majority, I believe the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt and the verdict would have been the same regardless of the error. I fully understand the reasoning of the Majority on this issue, but I am unable to understand how a reasonable jury could possibly, under the facts of this case, come to the conclusion that Cassie Stoddart's murder was not the result of a conspiracy between Adamcik and Draper to commit it.