above-captioned criminal appeal was classified and sent to
the Court on May 30, 2017. Self-represented Appellant Randy
Bill Ring seeks a clarification of time served provisions in
a prior sentence and judgment. Upon review, we deem it
appropriate to consider the issue as if raised in a petition
for a writ of habeas corpus to this Court.
background is necessary. A jury found Randy Bill Ring guilty
of incest on February 16, 2012. On June 14, 2012, the First
Judicial District Court, Lewis and Clark County, sentenced
him to the Montana State Prison for a twenty-year term (Cause
No. DDC 2011-57) (hereinafter 2012 sentence). The District
Court also stated:
The defendant is granted credit for time served prior to
sentencing for the following: February 3-18, 2011; and,
December 13, 2011 until when the defendant began serving his
federal sentence in United States v. Randy Ring,
Cause No. CR11-10-H-CCL, United States District Court,
District of Montana.
and Commitment, p. 3 (First Judicial Dist. Ct., Lewis and
Clark Co., Mont. Jun. 28, 2012). The 2012 sentence was to be
served consecutive to a prior sentence for forgery in the
Third Judicial District Court, Powell County
September 4, 2012, the Lewis and Clark County Attorney filed
a motion to amend Ring's Judgment and Commitment
asserting the 2012 sentence should have run consecutively to
his sentence imposed in federal court as well as his sentence
from Powell County District Court. On September 5, 2012, the
Lewis and Clark County District Court issued an Amended
Judgment and Commitment and revised the sentence:
[T]hat for the felony offense of INCEST, the defendant is
sentenced to Montana State Prison for twenty (20) years, said
sentence to run consecutively to the sentences
imposed upon the defendant federally and in Cause
No. DC-06-03, Montana Third Judicial District Court, Powell
Amended Judgment and Commitment, p. 2 (First Judicial Dist.
Ct., Lewis and Clark Co., Mont. Sept. 5, 2012) (emphasis in
through counsel, timely appealed his 2012 conviction and
sentence. This Court issued a decision on February 25, 2014.
We affirmed Ring's conviction, and remanded to the Lewis
and Clark County District Court to strike various conditions,
unrelated to this proceeding. State v. Ring, 2014 MT
49, ¶ 39, 374 Mont. 109, 321 P.3d 800. The District
Court then issued a Second Amended Judgment and
Commitment on January 2, 2015.
himself, Ring filed an application for sentence review with
this Court's Sentence Review Division (SRD) on March 6,
2015. About a month later, Ring, through counsel, informed
the SRD that he wished to withdraw his application, and to
proceed with a petition for postconviction relief.
16, 2015, Ring, appearing pro se, filed a petition
for postconviction relief in the Lewis and Clark County
District Court. It was filed as a separate proceeding with a
different cause number (DDV-2015-429). The District Court
denied his petition on May 23, 2016, because it was untimely,
missing the deadline by almost three weeks, and because Ring
raised the same issues as in his appeal of his 2012 sentence.
We re-stated as much when this Court denied his petition for
an out-of-time appeal. Ring v. State, No. DA
16-0681, Or. (Mont. Nov. 29, 2016).
presently appeals a May 17, 2016 Lewis and Clark County
District Court Order, which denied Ring's motion to amend
his sentence, in which he captioned it as a motion for
clarification. Ring argues in his opening brief on appeal
that his sentence is illegal under §46-18-116, MCA,
because a discrepancy exists with his credit for time served.
He explains that the latest judgment does not accurately
reflect the credit for time served, which he asserts should
be from February 3, 2011, through February 18, 2011, and
December 13, 2011, through June 21, 2012. Ring also replies
that he sought postconviction relief with the District Court
in 2015. He requests that the District Court correct the
"factually erroneous sentence or judgment... ."
State argues that Ring is precluded from any relief because
Ring failed to file a timely request for a modification of
his written sentence, and that he failed to file a timely
petition for postconviction relief. The State points out that
the Second Amended Judgment gave Ring his credit for time
served: February 3-18, 2011, and December 13, 2011, until
when Ring began serving the federal sentence in United
States v. Ring, Cause No. CR11-10-H-CCL, United States
District Court, District of Montana. The State concludes that
the Lewis and Clark County District Court properly denied his
motion for clarification as time-barred.
agree with the State that the opportunity to modify his
sentences and to seek postconviction relief are no longer
available to Ring because the statutory time periods have
passed. While the State incorrectly advances that Ring did
not file a petition for postconviction relief, the State,
however, is correct that Ring's request for relief would
be better served as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
Section 46-22-101(1), MCA. As we have stated previously,
"[t]he writ of habeas corpus is designed to correct such
flaws and to remedy 'extreme malfunctions in the state
criminal justice systems.'" Lott v. State,
2006 MT 279, ¶ 20, 334 Mont. 270, 150 P.3d 337 (internal
appears to be one such occasion. While the District Court did
give Ring credit for time served pursuant to §
46-18-403(1), MCA, the court did not provide a date certain,
rather, that the time served includes "December 13, 2011
until when the defendant began serving his federal sentence
in United States v. Randy Ring, Cause No.
CR11-10-H-CCL, United States District Court, District of
Montana." The record is not clear when he began serving
his federal sentence. Because of the confusion, we conclude
that justice would be better served to dismiss this case, and
to consider it as an original proceeding under a new cause
number, as assigned by the Clerk upon entry of ...