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State v. Adams

Supreme Court of Montana

July 15, 2013

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
KRISTOPHER RONALD ADAMS, Defendant and Appellant.

Submitted on Briefs: May 1, 2013

APPEAL FROM District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, In and For the County of Missoula, Cause No. DC 06-506 Honorable Edward P. McLean, Presiding Judge

For Appellant: Wade Zolynski, Chief Appellate Defender; Eileen A. Larkin, Assistant Appellate Defender

For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General; Tammy A. Hinderman, Assistant Attorney General


Jim Rice, Justice

¶1 Kristopher R. Adams (Adams) received a suspended sentence for the offense of felony theft in 2007 that was ordered to run consecutively "to Defendant's revocation" in another proceeding, wherein Adams was serving probation after being transferred from juvenile to adult supervision. Adams appeals the denial by the Fourth Judicial District Court, Missoula County, of his motion to dismiss the State's 2012 petition to revoke his 2007 suspended sentence. We affirm.

¶2 We address the following issue on appeal:

¶3 Did the District Court err by denying Adams' motion to dismiss the State's petition to revoke?


¶4 In 2005, while Adams was a juvenile, he committed numerous offenses that would have constituted criminal offenses if committed by an adult, including burglaries, thefts, criminal mischief, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of drug paraphernalia, and obstructing a police officer. These offenses were the subject of multiple delinquency petitions filed in Youth Court by the State and were ultimately adjudicated under cause number DJ 04-88. Judge Harkin found Adams to be a delinquent youth on October 25, 2005, and committed him to the Department of Corrections (DOC) until age 18, with a recommendation for placement at the Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility (2005 Disposition or DJ 04-88). Adams was placed at Pine Hills until he was released to juvenile probation in September 2006. In the two months following his release, Adams committed several probationary violations. On November 28, 2006, Judge Harkin ordered a transfer of jurisdiction of Adams' case to the district court and transfer of supervisory responsibility to adult probation services pursuant to § 41-5-208, MCA (2005).[1] Adams, then age 18, was placed on adult probation supervision until his 21st birthday.

¶5 The same day, November 28, 2006, Adams stole a vehicle from the Safeway parking lot in Missoula. Several new DVDs were in the backseat of the car, which Adams sold for cash. Two days later, when the stolen car ran out of gas, Adams stole a second vehicle from a residential area in Missoula. Adams was apprehended and charged by information with one count of felony theft and two counts of misdemeanor theft in cause number DC 06-509, presided over by District Court Judge McLean. The State also filed a petition to revoke Adams' probation in DJ 04-88 based upon the new charges.

¶6 Adams and the State entered a plea bargain agreement to resolve the charges. In exchange for Adams' plea of guilty to felony theft, the State agreed to dismiss the two misdemeanor charges. Pursuant to § 46-12-211(1)(b), MCA, the plea bargain included the parties' agreement that a three-year commitment to DOC, all suspended, would be an "appropriate disposition" for the offense. The parties further agreed that this sentence would not commence until Adams discharged his disposition in DJ 04-88 or, in the words of the plea agreement, "[t]his case shall run consecutive to Defendant's revocation in DJ-04-88." In his interview with the author of the presentence investigation report, Adams said, "I believe I should be sentenced to what is recommended in the plea-agreement." Adams thereafter entered a guilty plea to the felony theft charge.

¶7 At the sentencing hearing on March 26, 2007, Judge McLean accepted the terms of the plea agreement and committed Adams to the DOC for three years, all suspended, for the felony theft offense (2007 Sentence). Pursuant to the plea bargain agreement, the District Court ordered the 2007 Sentence to run consecutively to the disposition to be imposed in the revocation proceeding pending in DJ 04-88. Consistent with his negotiation of the plea agreement, Adams offered no objection to the sentence, and did not appeal or otherwise challenge the 2007 Sentence.

ΒΆ8 On April 10, 2007, Judge Harkin presided over the revocation hearing in DJ 04- 88. Judge Harkin revoked the disposition and committed Adams to the DOC until his 21st birthday, with no time suspended. Adams did not object to the commitment and did not appeal. Adams entered the Treasure State Correctional Training Center, or "boot camp, " on August 15, 2007. Adams failed to successfully complete boot camp and he was transferred by the DOC to Montana State Prison on October 5, 2007. Adams remained at the prison ...

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