SANDPOINT — The Idaho Court of Appeals is upholding the life sentence imposed against a Washington state man accused of raping a woman in the Hoodoo Valley in 2017.
Kim Michael Smith was charged with forcible penetration and rape for allegedly forcing himself on a woman while camping. Smith entered into a plea agreement in which the forcible penetration charge was dismissed in exchange for a plea to the rape charge, according to court documents.
The alleged victim, who was 31 at the time, told sheriff’s deputies that she took her young son camping with Smith. She awoke in the early morning hours to an intoxicated Smith pinning her wrist down to a sleeping berth in a camper.
“This is going to happen now!” the woman quoted Smith as saying, according to a probable cause affidavit. The woman said she led her son to wait in a nearby vehicle and returned to the camper, where she was slapped and raped, the affidavit said. The woman said she felt she had no choice but to give in to Smith’s sexual demands because had a gun and said he was “armed and dangerous.”
A criminal complaint alleges the woman’s resistance was overcome by a reasonable expectation that harm would come her way if she did not comply. Smith told deputies he was in a dating relationship, a claim the woman steadfastly denied, court records indicate.
Smith entered an Alford plea to the rape charge, which meant he admitted no wrongdoing but conceded he could be convicted of the offense if the case went before a jury.
First District Judge Barbara Buchanan imposed a life term, the first 10 years of which are fixed, court records indicate. He petitioned for post-conviction relief and attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, but the motions were denied.
Smith appealed the denial of his post-conviction relief petition, which is essentially a plea for leniency. Smith argued on appeal that Buchanan abused her discretion in turning down the petition, but the appeals court was not swayed by the argument, according to an unpublished opinion released on Jan. 14.
“Upon review of the record, including any new information submitted with Smith’s Rule 35 motion, we conclude no abuse of discretion has been shown,” the appeals court said in the opinion.
Smith, 66, is serving his sentence at the Idaho State Correctional Institution in Kuna. His parole eligibility date is listed as June 2027, according to IDOC’s website.
Smith was convicted of second-degree rape in Snohomish County, Wash., in 1991.
Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.