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Sartain v. State

Supreme Court of Montana

September 5, 2017

DANNY SARTAIN, Petitioner and Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MONTANA, Respondent and Appellee.

          Submitted on Briefs: May 31, 2017

         APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Eighteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Gallatin, Cause No. DC 08-86B Honorable Mike Salvagni, Presiding Judge.

          For Appellant: Danny Sartain, Self-Represented, Deer Lodge, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Micheal S. Wellenstein, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana Marty Lambert, Gallatin County Attorney, Bozeman, Montana

          OPINION

          Laurie McKinnon Justice.

         ¶1 Danny Sartain (Sartain) appeals from an Order entered in the Montana Eighteenth Judicial District Court, Gallatin County, denying his petition for touch DNA testing. We affirm.

         ¶2 Sartain presents the following issue for review:

Whether the District Court properly denied Sartain's petition for touch DNA testing.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶3 In 2009, Sartain was found guilty of burglary, designated a persistent felony offender, and sentenced to forty years in the Montana State Prison. He appealed that conviction to this Court, challenging the district court's denial of his speedy trial claim and also raising ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) claims. This Court summarized the facts relevant to Sartain's direct appeal as follows:

On March 25, 2008, in Bozeman, Timothy Hop returned from snow skiing and found a male intruder in his house. He chased the man out of his house and called 911. Police were dispatched. A responding officer observed a man matching Hop's description of the intruder jogging down a sidewalk in the area. Another resident of the area, Jason Schutz, was watching the jogging man when the officer stopped and asked Schutz what he was watching. He responded that the jogging man had just jumped the fence in his backyard, cut through a neighbor's yard, and then started running down the street. The officer arrested the jogging man, defendant Sartain, on suspicion of burglary. A short time later, the officer took Sartain back to the scene of the burglary, had him step out of the police vehicle and conducted a "show-up" identification of Sartain first with Hop and then Kristi Helsper, another neighbor who had observed a man jogging down the street after hearing a loud noise. Both stated that Sartain matched the description of the person, but that they were not able to positively identify him. Later at trial, Hop testified that he was positive that Sartain was the intruder.

State v. Sartain, 2010 MT 213, ¶ 4, 357 Mont. 483, 241 P.3d 1032 (Sartain I).

         ¶4 Relevant to the instant proceeding, our review of the trial transcript filed in the direct appeal indicates there was testimony that fresh footprints were found around Timothy Hop's (Hop) backyard fence, which were consistent with the tread pattern and size of boot Sartain was wearing when he was apprehended. Hop also discovered fresh "jimmy" marks on the back and front doors to his apartment, which were consistent with use of a pry bar that was found by law enforcement in an alley approximately one block from Hop's apartment. Officers also found a footprint near the pry bar-similar to the other footprints found in the alley, in Hop's backyard, and in Jason Schutz' (Schutz) backyard-which was consistent with the tread pattern and size of boot Sartain wore.

         ¶5 We affirmed the denial of Sartain's speedy trial claim and dismissed the IAC claims without prejudice to Sartain raising them in a postconviction proceeding. The United States Supreme Court denied Sartain's petition for writ of certiorari. Sartain v. Montana, 562 U.S. 1237, 131 S.Ct. 1514 (2011). Next, Sartain filed a petition for postconviction relief in district court raising primarily his IAC claims. The district court dismissed Sartain's petition and we affirmed. Sartain v. State, 2012 MT 164, 365 Mont. 483, 285 P.3d 407 (Sartain II). On March 29, 2013, Sartain filed a Petition for Performance of Fingerprint Analysis and Testing, which the district court denied with prejudice. Sartain appealed and we affirmed. We concluded that Sartain's claims could have been raised on direct appeal and that Sartain did not meet the exception to the time limitations governing direct appeal and postconviction relief set forth in § 46-21-102(2), MCA, because there was no basis to assume a reasonable jury would not have convicted Sartain with the additional fingerprint analysis evidence. State v. Sartain, 2013 MT 372N (Sartain III). Finally, on May ...


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