Stanfield v. IdahoAnnotate this Case
Katherine Lea Stanfield appealed a district court summarily dismissing her petition for post-conviction relief. Stanfield was a daycare provider with decades of experience caring for young children. In 2009, she was caring for her two grandsons and W.F., the two-year-old son of her daughter’s boyfriend. W.F. collapsed while in Stanfield’s care and was rushed to a hospital emergency room. Two days later, he was taken off life support and died. Stanfield’s daughter had personally observed W.F.’s father commit acts of abuse on W.F. She informed Stanfield’s lawyers of her observations. In addition, W.F.’s mother informed a police investigator that she had also witnessed W.F.’s father abuse him and implored the authorities to investigate him. However, Stanfield’s attorneys never elicited this evidence at trial. Nevertheless, in 2012, a jury found Stanfield guilty of first-degree murder committed through the aggravated battery and death of a child under twelve years old. Stanfield maintained her lawyers were ineffective in their failure to present that potentially exculpatory evidence. On appeal, Stanfield argued the district court erred in not granting her an evidentiary hearing on four of her claims. Because there were genuine issues of material fact presented in Stanfield’s petition, the Idaho Supreme Court vacated the district court’s summary dismissal and remanded so that Stanfield could be afforded an evidentiary hearing to determine whether her lawyers at trial were ineffective.