Articles Posted in Montana Supreme Court

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Seventeen-year-old Defendant was charged with two counts of sexual intercourse without consent. Defendant filed two motions to transfer each charge to Youth Court. The district court denied both transfer motions. Defendant ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent. Defendant was sentenced to fifty years in prison, with ten years suspended. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the district court’s refusal to transfer the charges to Youth Court, holding that the district court did not err in denying the transfer motions; and (2) remanded for entry of an amended judgment and review of the sentence as provided by law, holding that the district court erred by not including the requirements found in Mont. Code Ann. 41-5-2503(1) in Defendant’s sentence. View "State v. Talksabout" on Justia Law

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The State charged twelve-year-old K.J.R. with seven felony and misdemeanor offenses. The district youth court subsequently adjudicated K.J.R. to be a delinquent youth. The youth court committed K.J.R. to the supervision of the youth court until age eighteen, or sooner released, for placement at a specific therapeutic group home. Over the next three years, the juvenile probation officer moved K.J.R. in and out of a sequence of juvenile facilities and foster care homes. When K.J.R. was fifteen years old, the State filed a petition to revoke his youth court probation. After a dispositional hearing, the youth court revoked K.J.R.’s original commitment to the youth court and committed K.J.R. to the supervision of the Montana Department of Corrections (DOC) at a state youth correctional facility until age eighteen or sooner released. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the court did not err when it revoked K.J.R.’s original youth court commitment and recommitted him to DOC for placement at a state youth correction facility; and (2) K.J.R.’s claim that he received ineffective assistance of counsel during the delinquency proceedings was without merit. View "State v. K.J.R." on Justia Law

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J.W. was designated a delinquent youth and serious juvenile offender and placed on probation, subject to several conditions. On June 30, 2014, the Youth Court issued a disposition order revoking J.W.’s probation, committing him to placement within a Montana Department of Corrections (DOC) facility, and requiring him to complete certain phases of the facility’s juvenile SOTP. The State filed a motion to revoke the disposition order and transfer J.W.’s case to the District Court pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. 41-5-208. The Youth Court granted the motion. The Youth Court and District Court imposed house arrest with restrictive conditions on J.W. pending a final disposition of his case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Youth Court did not err in granting the State’s motion to transfer; and (2) the lower courts did not err in imposing house arrest with restrictive conditions on J.W. View "In re J.W." on Justia Law

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K.E.G., a fifteen-year-old male, admitted to committing acts of vandalism on two consecutive nights. The county attorney then filed a petition alleging that K.E.G. was a delinquent youth for having committed criminal mischief. Other youths involved in the vandalism were similarly charged. K.E.G. admitted to the allegations. At issue before the youth court was whether the State should hold K.E.G. jointly and severally liable for all damages caused by the vandalism, given that K.E.G. participated in only two of the eleven nights of vandalism. The youth court adjudicated K.E.G. a delinquent youth and ordered him to pay $78,702 in restitution, concluding that K.E.G. was jointly and severally liable for the full amount of restitution for damages caused by the youths. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the youth court's failure to fully consider K.E.G.'s ability to pay prior to imposing aggregate restitution constituted plain error. Remanded for a new restitution hearing. View "In re K.E.G." on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, the youth court found that E.M.R., a youth under the age of eighteen, had committed five misdemeanor offenses of "dog at large" and one felony offense of aggravated animal cruelty. The convictions stemmed from E.M.R.'s treatment of her dogs and horses. E.M.R. appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded, holding (1) the youth court's instruction to the jury on the legislative purpose of the Youth Court Act was prejudicial error and required reversal of the aggravated animal cruelty adjudication; and (2) the youth court correctly declined to dismiss the "dog at large" charges. View "State v. E.M.R." on Justia Law

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After a youth violated the terms of his initial probation agreement, the judicial district youth court revoked that agreement and entered a dispositional order that extended the youth's probationary period for an additional three years. The youth appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the youth court did not exceed its statutory authority and correctly and interpreted and applied the Youth Court Act by imposing on revocation an additional three-year probationary term that lasted until the youth's twenty-first birthday; and (2) the imposition of an additional three-year term of probation did not violate the youth's constitutional right to equal protection of the laws. View "In re S.M.K." on Justia Law

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This matter involved two cases, one involving two youths who appeared in youth court for detention hearings and one involving an adult who pled guilty to driving under the influence in justice court. After appearing in district court, the youths filed motions to substitute district court judge, and the court denied the motions as untimely. After the adult pled guilty in justice court, she appealed only the justice court's denial of her pretrial suppression motion, which the district court denied as untimely. The Supreme Court granted a petition for writ of supervisory control for the youths and denied it for the adult, holding (1) the district court improperly determined that the youths had filed untimely motions for substitution of district judge; and (2) the district court correctly denied the adult's motion for substitution of district court judge, as no right exists under Mont. Code Ann. 3-1-804 to substitute a district judge in an appeal of a specific pre-trial legal ruling from justice court. View "Bledsoe v. Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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At issue in these two consolidated appeals was whether the district court properly calculated the time period in which to file a motion for substitution of district judge in youth court and on an appeal from justice court. Petitioners, two youths who appeared in court or detention hearings and a defendant who pled guilty in justice court to driving under the influence, petitioned for writ of supervisory control, claiming that the district court incorrectly denied as untimely their motions for substitution of district court judge in those cases. The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) the district court improperly determined that the youths had filed untimely motions for substitution of district judge; and (2) the district court properly calculated the time period in which to file a motion for substitution of district court on the appeal from justice court. View "Bledsoe v. Judicial Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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M.W., a juvenile who admitted that he committed sexual assault, was adjudged as delinquent and placed on probation until the age of eighteen, subject to numerous conditions. After M.W. was unsuccessfully discharged from sexual offender treatment, the youth court required him to register as a sexual offender. The case was subsequently transferred to the district court, which later denied M.W.'s petition to be relieved of the registration requirement. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly analyzed the issue by concluding that it did not have the statutory authority, at the present time, to relieve M.W. from the registration requirement. View "In re M.W." on Justia Law

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T.M.L. was seventeen when he pled guilty to felony burglary and misdemeanor criminal trespass to vehicles. The youth court entered a dispositional order providing that T.M.L. be placed on probation until he reached age eighteen, after which supervision was to be transferred to the district court and adult probation and parole department. After T.M.L. turned eighteen, the youth court transferred T.M.L.'s matter to district court and transferred T.M.L.'s supervision to adult supervision under the department of corrections. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the youth court's denial of T.M.L.'s motion to dismiss where the youth court had jurisdiction over T.M.L.; and (2) remanded the matter for the limited purpose of striking the condition that T.M.L. register as a sexual offender as a condition of T.M.L.'s sentence, as the youth court did not have the power to require T.M.L. to register as a sexual offender. View "In re T.M.L." on Justia Law