North Idaho Man to Go to Prison for 2016 Aggravated DUI

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Press Release from Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office

Kenneth Richard Rose, Jr., 37, was convicted of Aggravated DUI. On July 1, 2016, while driving intoxicated on N. Clagstone Rd., Rose crossed over into oncoming traffic while traveling approximately 85-90 mph in a 50 mph zone and crashed into another vehicle; nearly killing a mother driving pizza home to her family for dinner. After Rose was taken to the hospital, deputies obtained a blood sample from Rose revealing a blood alcohol content of 0.107. After an unsuccessful attempt to suppress his blood sample from evidence, Rose was convicted of Aggravated DUI. Aggravated DUI is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. At sentencing in December of 2017, the State recommended a 7 year prison sentence. Rose claimed he did not remember anything about the crash and expressed his intent to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress. Judge Luster, substituting in for Judge Christensen at the sentencing hearing, sentenced Rose to a 6 year prison sentence. Following the sentencing hearing, however, Judge Christensen stayed execution of the sentence pending Rose’s appeal. Because he had gone to the hospital following the crash, Rose was never taken into custody and remained free pending his appeal.

In July of 2020, Rose lost his appeal and Prosecuting Attorney Stanley Mortensen requested Judge Christensen take Rose into custody to serve his 6 year prison sentence. Judge Christensen, however, refused to impose Rose’s sentence and instead indicated that he would entertain a motion to reduce or modify Rose’s sentence under Idaho Criminal Rule 35. Although Rule 35 allows a defendant to file such a motion, the rule explicitly requires the motion to be filed within 120 days of the judgment of conviction. As his judgment was entered on December 18, 2017, Rose’s deadline to file the motion was April 17, 2018. Despite this, Rose filed his Rule 35 motion on June 15, 2021; more than 3 years after the sentence was originally imposed and well beyond the 120 days permitted by the plain language of Rule 35. Prosecuting Attorney Stanley Mortensen objected to the motion for leniency, called attention to the lapsed deadline, and asserted that Judge Christensen lacked the necessary jurisdiction to modify Rose’s sentence. However, Judge Christensen held that the stay of execution extended the 120 day deadline and granted Rose’s Rule 35 motion. Judge Christensen then entered an order suspending execution of Rose’s 6 year prison sentence and placed Rose on probation for 4 years.

Kootenai County Prosecutor Stanley Mortensen

The Attorney General’s Office appealed Judge Christensen’s order suspending execution of Rose’s sentence. In February of 2023, the Court of Appeals of the State of Idaho ruled that Judge Christensen erred in concluding the stay of execution extended the 120 day deadline. The Court of Appeals, however, refused to vacate Judge Christensen’s order or reimpose Rose’s original judgment and sentence.

The Attorney General’s Office then appealed Judge Christensen’s order suspending execution of Rose’s sentence to the Supreme Court of the State of Idaho. On April 3, 2024, the Supreme Court ruled that Judge Christensen lacked the necessary jurisdiction to modify Rose’s sentence because Rose’s Rule 35 motion was untimely (the State’s original argument to Judge Christensen nearly 3 years earlier). Additionally, the Supreme Court vacated Judge Christensen’s order suspending execution of Rose’s sentence and reimposed Rose’s original judgment and sentence.

On April 25, 2024, the Supreme Court filed a Remittitur, making the April 3, 2024 decision final. Idaho Code § 19-2703 states that if a judgment is for imprisonment, the defendant “must forthwith” (immediately/without delay) be committed to the custody of the proper officer and detained until the judgment is complied with. On April 26, 2024, Prosecuting Attorney Stanley Mortensen filed a motion asking Judge Christensen to sign an Order for Commitment directing Rose to be taken into custody and held by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office pending transportation to prison. However, instead of signing the order, Judge Christensen scheduled a status conference for May 15, 2024.

Idaho Code § 19-2701 states that when a judgment has been pronounced no other warrant or authority is necessary to justify or require its execution. Also, Idaho Code § 19-2704 states that, upon receipt of a certified copy of judgment, the county sheriff must hold a defendant in custody in his custody until demand for such prisoner by the state prison. Recognizing the unnecessary delay created by the scheduling of the May 15, 2024 status conference, Prosecuting Attorney Stanley Mortensen provided a certified copy of the original judgment to Kootenai County Sheriff Bob Norris and Rose was forthwith located and taken into custody where he will remain until transported to prison.

Prosecuting Attorney Stanley Mortensen thanks the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office for investigating the case, the Idaho Office of the Attorney General for aggressively appealing Judge Christensen’s erroneous ruling, and the victim and her family for their patience in waiting nearly 8 years for justice to be served.

“A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people and three things could destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society: [1] that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value; [2] that people who have long been exploited in the smaller transactions of daily life come to believe that courts cannot vindicate their legal rights from fraud and overreaching; [3] that people come to believe the law – in the larger sense – cannot fulfill its primary function to protect them and their families in their homes, at their work, and on the public streets.” – Warren R. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States.

Justice delayed is justice denied.