Sentence in lewd conduct case upheld

SANDPOINT — The Idaho Court of Appeals is upholding a life sentence given to a Blanchard man who pleaded guilty to molesting a Bonner County youngster.

David John Hughes argued the sentence was excessive, but the appeals court ruled that 1st District Judge Steve Verby did not abuse his discretion in imposing the sentence, according to an unpublished opinion released on Tuesday.

Hughes was sentenced last year. He has to serve at least 25 years of the sentence before he can be considered for parole.

Hughes, 53, is listed as an inmate on the Idaho Department of Correction website, but does not specify where he is serving the sentence. He is eligible for parole in 2036 and his last parole activity was several months after he was sentenced, according to IDOC.

Hughes was convicted of engaging in lewd and lascivious conduct with a Oldtown boy from 1998 to 2000. The victim was between the ages of 8 and 10 at the time of the abuse.

The case emerged a decade after the fact. The victim told sheriff’s investigators he resolved to come forward to spare others from being abused by Hughes, according to court documents.

The victim told investigators that Hughes would lure him to his trailer with junk food, video games and firearms.

Counsel for Hughes, who was also sexually abused as a child, argued for a 2- to 10-year term with retained jurisdiction, which would have qualified him for release after serving a year. The state recommended a 20-to-life sentence because of a prior lewd conduct conviction in Nevada and a full-disclosure polygraph indicated Hughes had a pattern of misconduct with underage boys.

At sentencing, Verby told Hughes that the primary goal of incarceration was to protect society.

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