Idaho v. Baxter

On February 14, 2016, after drinking, Roy Baxter “backhanded [his] wife in the throat area” while the two were driving in his car. When they stopped driving and got out of his car, they continued arguing, and Baxter “threatened to kill her and punched her in the arm.” Baxter’s abuse left his wife with “a traumatic injury” and bruising. A no-contact order prohibiting Baxter from attempting to “contact, harass, follow, communicate with, or knowingly remain within 100 feet of: [his wife]” was issued shortly thereafter, but Baxter “call[ed] and talk[ed]” to his wife “between 1-14 times” after the issuance of the no-contact order. In March, the State charged Baxter with domestic violence under Idaho Code section 18-918(2) and violating the no-contact order under Idaho Code section 18-920. The State proposed a plea agreement, whereby, in exchange for Baxter’s plea of guilty on the domestic violence charge, the State agreed to dismiss several other charges and recommend probation on the condition that a domestic violence evaluation rated Baxter’s likelihood to reoffend at “less than high risk[.]” As an additional contingency, the plea agreement prohibited Baxter from “acquiring a new criminal charge or charges between the date of this offer and sentencing, even if the charge or charges are not yet conviction(s).” Baxter was initially uncertain about whether to accept the State’s proposed plea agreement, and underwent a domestic violence evaluation. When the State reviewed the domestic violence evaluation, it grew concerned over “gross omissions” it felt Baxter had made concerning his drug use and violent conduct during the initial plea negotiations, and changed its terms for the agreement. Baxter entered a guilty plea. Baxter’s presentence investigation report (PSI) took into consideration Baxter’s evaluation, and recommended Baxter be placed on a rider. Baxter moved to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing the State’s “intervention with [with the physician evaluator] after [Baxter] entered his guilty plea rendered the plea agreement in this case meaningless.” Baxter did not claim innocence. The district court denied the motion, concluding Baxter had not met his burden to show the existence of a “just reason” to withdraw his plea. The Court of Appeals affirmed, and the Idaho Supreme Court also affirmed, finding Baxter did not show the existence of a just reason to withdraw his guilty plea. View "Idaho v. Baxter" on Justia Law