Submitted on Briefs: October 26, 2016
FROM: Youth Court and District Court of the Fifth Judicial
District, In and For the County of Jefferson, Cause No.
DJ-2013-3 and DC-2015-48 Honorable Loren Tucker, Presiding
Appellant Al Avignon, Lisa A. Banick, Avignon, Banick &
Williams, PLLC, Bozeman, Montana
Appellee Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Tammy A.
Hinderman, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana, Steve
C. Haddon, Jefferson County Attorney, Danielle Perry, Deputy
County Attorney, Boulder, Montana
Jeremiah Shea Justice
J.W. appeals an order of the Fifth Judicial District Youth
Court, Jefferson County, granting the State of Montana's
motion to transfer J.W.'s case to the Fifth Judicial
District Court, Jefferson County, and denying J.W.'s
motion to suppress statements he made to treatment providers.
We address the following issues:
Issue One: Whether the Youth Court erred in granting the
State's motion to transfer J.W.'s Youth Court
proceeding to the District Court pursuant to § 41-5-208,
Issue Two: Whether the Youth Court and District Court
erred in imposing house arrest with restrictive conditions on
J.W. pending a final disposition of his case.
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
In September 2013, J.W. pled true to two counts of sexual
intercourse without consent in violation of § 45-5-503,
MCA, and one count of solicitation of sexual intercourse
without consent in violation of §§ 45-4-101 and
45-5-503, MCA. In January 2014, the Youth Court designated
J.W. a delinquent youth and serious juvenile offender and
placed him on probation, subject to several conditions,
including the successful completion of a sexual offender
treatment program (SOTP). J.W. also was prohibited from
having unsupervised contact with youths under the age of
In April 2014, the State filed a petition to revoke
J.W.'s probation. J.W. pled true to unsupervised contact
with a youth under the age of sixteen in violation of his
probation. On June 25, 2014, the Youth Court held a
dispositional hearing. On June 30, 2014, the Youth Court
issued a disposition order revoking J.W.'s probation,
committing him to a Montana Department of Corrections (DOC)
placement at Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility until the
age of eighteen, and requiring him to complete phases I and
II of Pine Hills' juvenile SOTP. In July 2014, J.W.
entered Pine Hills' SOTP. In March 2015, he was expelled
from the SOTP.
In June 2015, the State filed a motion to revoke the District
Court's disposition order, transfer J.W.'s case to
the District Court pursuant to § 41-5-208, MCA, and
order him to complete phases I and II of an SOTP within a
secure DOC facility. The basis for the State's motion was
that J.W. did not complete Pine Hills' SOTP in accordance
with the June 30, 2014 disposition order. The State attached
to its motion a letter written by Alice Hougardy, a licensed
clinical professional counselor at Pine Hills. Hougardy's
letter referenced the results of a polygraph administered to
J.W. Because of the reference to the polygraph results, the
Youth Court denied the State's motion, but granted the
State leave to file a new motion.
In August 2015, the State filed a new motion to transfer
pursuant to § 41-5-208, MCA. The State attached a letter
from Hougardy that did not reference the polygraph. J.W.
moved to strike the State's motion and to suppress
statements he made to his SOTP treatment providers. The Youth
Court scheduled a transfer hearing for September 30, 2015.
Before the hearing, J.W. turned eighteen and was released
from Pine Hills to the custody of his parents. The day before
the hearing, J.W. filed an emergency motion to vacate the
hearing on the basis that there was nothing for the Youth