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Downs v. State (4/24/2015) ap-2451

Downs v. State (4/24/2015) ap-2451

                                                        NOTICE
  

          The text of this opinion can be corrected before the opinion is published in the  

         Pacific Reporter.  Readers are encouraged to bring typographical or other formal  

          errors to the attention of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts:   



                                    303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska  99501
  

                                                Fax:  (907) 264-0878
  

                                       E-mail:  corrections @ akcourts.us
  



                 IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ALASKA  



MARK ALAN DOWNS,  

                                                                        Court of Appeals No. A-11329  

                                      Appellant,                      Trial Court No. 3PA-10-2351 CR  



                            v.  

                                                                                   O P I N I O N  

STATE OF ALASKA,  



                                      Appellee.                           No. 2451 - April 24, 2015  



                     ppeal from the District Court, Third Judicial District, Palmer,  

                   A                                           

                   John Wolfe, Judge.  



                   Appearances: Catherine Boruff, Assistant Public Defender, and    

                   Quinlan Steiner, Public Defender, Anchorage, for the Appellant.  

                   Lindsey   M.   Burton,   Assistant   District   Attorney,   Palmer,  

                   and  Michael  C.  Geraghty,  Attorney  General,  Juneau,  for  the  

                   Appellee.  



                   Before:      Mannheimer,  Chief  Judge,  and  Allard  and  Kossler,  

                                                                                       

                   Judges.  



                   Judge KOSSLER.  



                   The State charged Mark Alan Downs with driving with a revoked license.  



Downs filed a motion to suppress the evidence against him, arguing that the police did  

                                                                     



not have reasonable suspicion to stop him.  The district court denied Downs's motion,  

                                                                                         



and Downs filed a petition for review in the superior court.  The superior court granted  

                                        



Downs's petition and then affirmed the district court's ruling on its merits.  Downs did  

                                                                                                 


----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

not seek further appellate review at that time.   Instead, he went to trial and was convicted   



of driving with a revoked license.  



                    Downs  now  appeals  his  conviction,  arguing  for  a  second  time  that  the  



district  court  erred  in  denying  his  motion  to  suppress.    Because  Downs  previously  



litigated this issue and obtained an appellate decision on the merits, he is precluded from  

                                                                    



raising the same issue now.  



                    The "law of the case" doctrine restricts the relitigation of issues that were  

                                                                                                            



decided in an earlier appeal in the same case.  The doctrine is grounded in the principle  

                                                                                           

of stare decisis.1  

                           As the Alaska Supreme Court has explained, "Previous decisions on  



such issues - even questionable decisions - become the law of the case and should not  

                                                                                                  



be  reconsidered  on  remand  or  in  a  subsequent  appeal  except  where  there  exist  

                                                         

exceptional circumstances presenting a clear error constituting a manifest injustice."2  

                    



                                                                     

The policies underlying this doctrine include avoiding open-ended litigation of the same  



                                        

issue, fostering consistent results in the same litigation, ensuring procedural fairness, and  

promoting judicial efficiency.3  



                    In this case, Downs chose to pursue interlocutory review of the district  



                               

court's suppression ruling.  In seeking interlocutory review, Downs had the choice to file  



                                                                                        4  

                                                                                                          

his petition for review in the superior court or in this Court.                            He chose to file his petition  



                                                              

in the superior court, which granted his petition and affirmed the district court's ruling  



     1    Beal v. Beal , 209 P.3d 1012, 1016 (Alaska 2009);  see also Hurd v. State                                  , 107 P.3d  



314, 328 (Alaska App. 2005).  



     2    Beal , 209 P.3d at 1016-17 (original quotation marks and citations omitted).  



     3    Petrolane Inc. v. Robles , 154 P.3d 1014, 1026 (Alaska 2007), quoted in Beal, 209  



P.3d at 1017.  



     4    Alaska R. App. P. 402(a)(2); AS 22.10.020; AS 22.07.020.  



                                                              - 2 -                                                          2451
  


----------------------- Page 3-----------------------

on its merits. Downs could have sought review of the superior court's decision by filing                            

a petition for hearing in this Court, but he chose not to.5  



                      The superior court's appellate ruling was thus a final decision that became  

                                                                                                   



the law of the case. As we have explained, the law of the case doctrine restricts Downs's  

                                                                                        



ability to obtain a second appellate review of the district court's ruling unless "there exist  

                                                                                            

exceptional circumstances presenting a clear error constituting a manifest injustice."6  We  



conclude that Downs has not met this burden.  



                                                                                                                       

                      Downs alternatively asks us to accept his current appeal as an untimely  



petition for hearing from the superior court's appellate decision.  At the time of the  



superior  court's  appellate  decision,  Alaska  Rule  of  Appellate  Procedure  303(a)(1)  



provided that a petition for hearing could be filed within fifteen days of the date of notice  

of the decision of the intermediate appellate court.7  

                                                                                       Downs's petition for hearing was  

accordingly  due  by  September  14,  2011.8  

                                                                           Appellate  Rule  502(b)  prohibits  us  from  



relaxing that deadline by more than sixty days.  That sixty days expired on November  

                                                                      



14,  2011.    We  do  not  have  jurisdiction  to  accept  Downs's  appeal  as  a  petition  for  

hearing.9  



      5    Alaska R. App. P. 302(b)(1).  



      6    Beal , 209 P.3d at 1017 (internal quotation marks and original citations omitted).  



      7    Alaska Appellate Rule 303 has  since been amended to allow thirty days for the filing  



of a petition for hearing.  



      8    Alaska R. App. P. 302(b); former Alaska R. App. P. 303(a)(1) (petition for hearing  



must be filed  within  fifteen  days after  the  date of  notice); Alaska R. Crim. P. 32.3(b)(2) (date  

of notice is the date of distribution).  



      9    See  Lambert v. State , 45 P.3d 1214, 1215-16 (Alaska App. 2002) (holding that this  



Court did not have jurisdiction to  hear  an untimely sentence appeal filed more than sixty days  

after the filing deadline).  



                                                                    - 3 -                                                               2451
  


----------------------- Page 4-----------------------

Conclusion  



       We AFFIRM the judgment of the district court.  



                                      - 4 -                                          2451
  

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