Submitted on Briefs: May 31, 2017
From District Court of the Eighteenth Judicial District, In
and For the County of Gallatin, Cause No. DC 14-257C
Honorable John C. Brown, Presiding Judge
Appellant: Chad Wriht, Chie Appellat Defender, Alexander H.
Pyle, Assistant Appellate Defender, Helena, Montana.
Appellee: Marty Lambert, Gallatin County Attorney, Bozeman,
Montana Marty Lambert, Gallatin County Attorney, Bozeman,
JEREMIAH SHEA JUSTICE.
Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court
Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum
opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as
precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition
shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of
noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and
Cyle Keith Kokot appeals an order of the Eighteenth Judicial
District Court, Gallatin County, sentencing him to the
Montana State Prison for twenty-five years with ten years
suspended for one count of sexual assault in violation of
§ 45-5-502, MCA. We address whether the District Court
premised its sentencing decision on materially false
information, and whether the District Court abused its
discretion by imposing alcohol-related conditions to
Kokot's sentence. We affirm in part and reverse in part.
In August 2014, Kokot was arrested and charged with two
counts of sexual intercourse without consent, in violation of
§ 45-5-503, MCA, for allegedly having sex with two
minor-age high school students-FS1 and FS2-while Kokot was
employed as the girls' high school basketball coach. On
September 17, 2014, at his first court appearance, the
District Court told Kokot to not contact any of the alleged
victims or witnesses in the case. Despite that order, Kokot
contacted FS2 over fifty times, and contacted a witness in
the case and accused her of lying to law enforcement. On May
1, 2015, Kokot pleaded guilty to a single charge of sexual
assault of FS2 in violation of § 45-5-502, MCA. As part
of the presentence investigation, Kokot was required to
undergo a psychosexual evaluation in which he described the
web of relationships, deceit, and improper conduct involving
the girls on the basketball team.
On September 22, 2015, at the sentencing hearing, the
District Court listed a number of reasons for its sentence,
including: the sexual relationship Kokot admitted to with
FS1; Kokot's violation of the trust placed in him by the
school district he worked for and the parents of his players;
Kokot's abuse of his authority as a basketball coach; and
his contact with FS2 and a witness in violation of the
District Court's order. Ultimately, Kokot was sentenced
to twenty-five years in the Montana State Prison with ten
years suspended, which included a condition requiring Kokot
to "not use or possess alcohol . . . [or] enter or seek
employment at any establishment where alcohol is the chief
item of sale, " and that Kokot submit to alcohol
testing. Kokot timely appealed the sentencing order.
We review whether a sentencing order violates a
defendant's constitutional right de novo. State v.
Simmons, 2011 MT 264, ¶ 9, 362 Mont. 306, 264 P.3d
706. We review probation conditions for abuse of discretion.
State v. Leyva, 2012 MT 124, ¶ 15, 365 Mont.
204, 280 P.3d 252. Abuse of discretion occurs when a
sentencing court acts arbitrarily without conscientious
judgment or exceeds the bounds of reason. State v.
Hernandez, 2009 MT 341, ¶ 7, 353 Mont. 111, 220
Kokot argues on appeal that the District Court violated his
due process rights by basing its sentencing decision on a
misunderstanding of the facts. Kokot maintains he never
admitted to having a sexual relationship with FS1, and
therefore is entitled to a new sentencing hearing. In the
alternative, Kokot argues the alcohol condition on his
sentence lacks any nexus to himself or the crime he
committed, and should be struck from the sentencing order.
The State argues the District Court accurately interpreted
the evidence presented at the sentencing hearing. The State
concedes that the alcohol condition should be struck from
A defendant's due process rights include protection
against a sentence "predicated on misinformation."
State v. Sherman, 2017 MT 39, ¶ 13, 386 Mont.
363, 390 P.3d 158. In making the argument that misinformation
exists, the defendant has an affirmative duty to show that
the sentence was premised upon "materially inaccurate or
prejudicial" information. Bauer v. State, 1999
MT 185, ¶ 22, 295 Mont. 306, 983 P.2d 955. Where no
erroneous information is involved in imposing a sentence,
there is no need for a reversal. Bauer, ¶ 24.
Kokot claims that his references to sexual activity with FS1
were recounted in his psychosexual evaluation as a
description of the lies he told in order to prevent anyone
from alerting the authorities about his sexual activity with
FS2. After reviewing all the evidence, however, the District
Court reasonably concluded Kokot had indeed engaged in sexual
activity with FS1, despite Kokot's attempt to
characterize his alleged sexual relationship with FS1 as
actually an attempt to cover up his sexual relationship with
FS2. The record is replete with evidence that supports the
District Court's conclusion. Moreover, the District
Court's recitation of the reasons for its sentence
involved far more than just Kokot's relationship with
FS1. Kokot has failed to demonstrate that his sentence was
premised on materially inaccurate or prejudicial information
in violation of his due process rights. Bauer,
The State concedes the sentencing order should be remanded in
order to strike the conditions prohibiting Kokot from using
or possessing alcohol, entering or seeking employment at any
establishment where alcohol is the chief item of sale, and
requiring him to submit to alcohol testing. Notwithstanding
the State's concession, however, we have previously held:
[A] standard condition of probation which the Department of
Corrections adopts by rule, may not conflict with conditions
imposed by a sentencing court. Thus, a standard condition
adopted by the Department of Corrections will be included as
a condition of a probationary sentence unless the District
Court determines, in the exercise of its discretion, that a
standard condition is inappropriate under the sentence it is
imposing. We will review the ...