Decisions – Ct. of App. – Feb. 25, 2014

Davis v. State – Davis was charged with auto theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.  He was found guilty only on the receiving stolen property charge.  On appeal he challenges the sufficiency of the inditment and the state concedes the error.  Pursuant to the receiving stolen property statute, M.C.A. § 97-17-70(3) (a), “Evidence that the person charged under this section stole the property that is the subject of the charge of receiving stolen property is not a defense to a charge under this section; however, dual charges of both stealing and receiving the same property shall not be brought against a single defendant in a single jurisdiction.”   Since Davis’ indictment violated this provision, his conviction must be reversed.  The Court states that it will not address the double jeapardy consequences, if any, of the reversal because this issue was inadequately briefed.

Watts v. State  – Watts was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced as an habitual.  He raises two issues.  The first is that the court erred in not declaring a mistrial when one ofthe state’s witnesses admitted that she had consumed  “half a case” (presumably of beer) and some wine.  The Court found this issue procedurally barred because trial counsel failed to object.  The Court reversed on the habitual status.  To prove that Watts was an habitual, the state introduced certified copies of two sentencing orders.  The problem, though, is that Watts was charged with being an habitual based on his having been convicted and served more than one year on two separate felnies (Sect. 99-19-83).  Here the State failed to prove that Watts served at least a year on each conviction.  Even the State conceded it was required to show the length of time Watts was incarcerated on each felony.  The Court had no choice but to reverse. 

Smith v. State – Smith was convicted of her third DUI in five years and sentenced to five years (but only half that to serve) and restitution to pay the property damages and medical bills for all three persons injured in the two-vehicle crash that alerted law enforcement to Smith’s drinking and driving.  On appeal she argues that the restitution order was error because the jury’s determination of guilt did not include any findings that Smith’s driving caused or contributed to the accident.  She bases this argument on caselaw from other states wherein those states have found their restitution statutes to require a finding of specific causation.  The State argues that there was plenty of circumstantial evidence of causation.   The Ct of Appeals agrees that the circumstantial evidence was sufficient to support the restitution award.  

Pugh v. State –  This case is interesting to me because I constantly get calls from inmates who think there is some mechanism for getting their sentence reduced. I always tell them there is no such thing.  Here, Pugh was charged with felon in possession and for having between 10 to 12 dosage units of MDMA.  Pugh pleaded guilty and the Court accepted the state’s sentencing recommendation which was five years with release after serving fourteen-and-a-half months followed by five years post-release supervision.  After Pugh served the fourteen-and-a-half months, he was released only to be returned to federal prison to finish a federal sentence.  Aggravated that the feds won’t credit him for the time served in state prison, he brings a motion to modify his sentence.  The Court finds that “trial courts, in most circumstances, lack jurisdiction to resentence convicted felons. 

Collins v. Collins – Arthur  appeals the Court’s upward modification of the seperate maintenance he must pay his wife. The initial award was decided in 2001.  In 2011, Arthur began receiving social security benefits of $2300 a month.  The Ct. of Appeals finds that the chancellor did not abuse his discretion in modifying the separate maintence amount. 


One thought on “Decisions – Ct. of App. – Feb. 25, 2014

  1. “When a person is convicted of criminal activities which have resulted in pecuniary damages” does not, says the court, mean that the activities have to have *caused* the damages? That is too cute by half, sez me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s