October 15, 2013
STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
JAMES THOMAS RICHARDS, Defendant and Appellant.
This matter comes before the Court on a Petition for an Out-of-Time Appeal wherein James Thomas Richards seeks to appeal from his conviction in the Fourth Judicial District Court. Richards pleaded guilty to Criminal Endangerment and was sentenced to prison for 10 years on April 10, 2013. The court dismissed the felony DUI charge and five misdemeanor charges.
In support of his petition, Richards maintains that despite his persistent telephone calls over a three-week period from prison to his counsel, he was unable to consult with counsel Patrick G. Sandefur. Richards claims that his mother finally acquired counsel's private phone number and Richards was able to visit with him, but that Sandefur failed to file a notice of appeal and was ten days late in filing a petition for sentence review. Richards also has filed a motion for appointment of counsel.
Having considered the matter and good cause appearing,
IT IS ORDERED that the Petition for an Out-of-Time Appeal is GRANTED.
The Office of Appellate Defender shall have 30 days from the date of this Order within which to file either a notice of appearance or a motion to rescind this Order appointing counsel. In the event the Appellant qualifies for appointed counsel, the Office of Appellate Defender shall immediately file a Notice of Appeal and order transcripts if they have not already been ordered.
The Clerk of the Supreme Court is directed to provide a copy of this Order to the Office of Appellate Defender, counsel of record and to James Thomas Richards.