For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: October 1, 2007

United States Supreme Court Declines to Decide Whether Sex Offender May Refuse to Participate in Psychosexual Evaluation for Sentencing

(Boise) – The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear the State of Idaho’s appeal of a decision that allows convicted sex offenders to refuse to participate in a psychosexual evaluation before sentencing, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said.

Idaho law allows such evaluations so that judges, in sentencing sex offenders, can consider the risk that the offender poses to society. However, in State v. Estrada, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination allows a defendant to refuse to participate in the evaluation when it is ordered by the sentencing court.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s action, the Idaho Supreme Court’s decision stands and the Estrada case will go back to district court for resentencing.

BACKGROUND

In February 2001, Krispen Estrada, formerly of Ontario, Oregon, choked, battered and raped his estranged wife in her Twin Falls home in front of their five children. After the victim and children were able to leave the house, Estrada engaged in a seven-hour armed standoff with police before he surrendered. He was charged with rape and kidnapping.

At a plea hearing on May 7, 2001, in Fifth District Court in Twin Falls County, the district judge advised Estrada that he was waiving his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Estrada pled guilty to rape, and the district court ordered a psychosexual evaluation. The kidnapping charge was dismissed.

Estrada then wrote to the district court, asserting that the evaluation was unnecessary and was delaying his sentencing. Estrada’s attorney informed Estrada that the evaluation “must be completed before sentencing” and encouraged Estrada to cooperate with the evaluation.

The district court imposed a sentence of life in prison with 25 years fixed. The Idaho Supreme Court later concluded that the sentencing judge relied “in part on the evaluation’s conclusion that Estrada had an ‘extreme violent nature’ and a low level of treatment motivation.” The Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed the sentence on appeal.

Estrada then filed a petition for post-conviction relief, claiming his attorney had provided ineffective assistance in violation of Estrada’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

Ultimately, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled in Estrada’s favor and ordered that he be sentenced again. In doing so, the court held that the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination applies to psychosexual evaluations and that Estrada may have received a harsher sentence as a result of his attorney’s failure to advise him of his Fifth Amendment rights.

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