Murphy v. IdahoAnnotate this Case
Defendant Alisha Murphy was convicted in 2001 of first degree murder of her husband, James. She appealed the conviction and sentence, which were affirmed in an unpublished opinion. Defendant filed a pro se application for post-conviction relief asserting numerous claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, police misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct, and judicial misconduct, together with a motion for the appointment of counsel. The Court of Appeals concluded defendant had made a successive petition for post-conviction relief and denied it. On appeal, defendant argued that the district court erred in denying her request for counsel, summarily dismissing her successive petition, and denying her I.R.C.P. 60(b) motion for reconsideration. She argued that her ineffective assistance of trial counsel claims were properly before the district court on successive petition because, under the Supreme Court’s decision in "Palmer v. Dermitt," (635 P.2d 955 (1981)), ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel constituted sufficient reason to bring a successive petition under I.C. 19-4908. The Court of Appeals reversed in part and affirmed in part, concluding that the district court properly dismissed three out of the four ineffective assistance of counsel claims without appointing counsel. As to the remaining claim, the Court of Appeals held that defendant alleged sufficient facts to raise the possibility of a valid claim and remanded that claim to the district court for appointment of counsel. Defendant argued to the Supreme Court that she was entitled to relief from the district court’s orders denying counsel and summarily dismissing each of the claims in her successive petition. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that that ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel was not a sufficient reason under I.C. 19-4908 for allowing a successive petition, and thus, overruled Palmer v. Dermitt. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals’ decision was reversed and the district court’s order of summary dismissal of defendant's successive petition for post-conviction relief was reinstated.