High court wants more records for Finlay appeal

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COEUR d’ALENE — The Idaho Supreme Court wants additional court records to assist in the appeal of Tyler Finlay’s manslaughter conviction.

Finlay, 23, convicted last year of manslaughter in the punching death of Jeffrey Marfice, appealed his case to the Supreme Court after being denied a shortened sentence in a Coeur d’Alene post-conviction hearing.

The Supreme Court is asking for exhibits such as pictures, letters and emails from victims and family members that were not sent to the appellate court with the case file — in part because of bugs in a newly implemented court record system.

First District Judge Lansing Haynes, who presided over Finlay’s post-conviction proceedings late last year, had the records sent to the Supreme Court by Monday. That included several notices regarding the admittance of evidence and an order denying Finlay’s Rule 35 motion, which asked for a sentence reduction.

Finlay, 23, was sentenced to four years fixed and 11 years indeterminate for the June 18, 2017, punching death of 29-year-old Jeffrey Marfice, a Coeur d’Alene businessman, father and husband.

After being punched by Finlay on Fourth Street after midnight, Marfice fell down and struck his head. He was transported by ambulance to Kootenai Health and died the next day.

Finlay, a high school sports standout from Rathdrum, had a history of alcohol and drug abuse and was on probation at the time of the incident.

Finlay had been behind bars for more than a year — most recently at an Orofino correctional facility — when Haynes in October denied reducing Finlay’s sentence to help Finlay attend a prison rehabilitation program open to convicts who are nearing parole eligibility.

At the post-conviction hearing, Finlay’s lawyers argued that their client was ready for rehabilitation and that the sentencing judge had not found Finlay to be a danger to society. Defense attorneys brought new evidence, which showed inaccuracies in a presentence report, and asked Haynes to reduce the time their client must serve behind bars to no more than 10 years.

Finlay appealed Haynes’s decision to the Supreme Court, which is still in the process of collecting evidence.

Some of the evidence is in hard copy form in the physical file, according to the attorneys.

The state’s $21.5 million iCourt system adopted last year replaced a long-used repository system that had been in place since the late 1990s. The new system is meant to be a digital — or paperless — collection of online records.

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