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State v. Lafield

Supreme Court of Montana

December 19, 2017

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
JEFFORY A. LAFIELD, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: September 27, 2017

         APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, In and For the County of Missoula, Cause No. DC-14-608 Honorable Robert L. Deschamps, III, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Robin Meguire, Attorney at Law, Great Falls, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Katie F. Schulz, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana Kirsten H. Pabst, Missoula County Attorney, Karla Painter, Deputy County Attorney, Missoula, Montana.

          OPINION

          Michael E Wheat Justice.

         ¶1 This appeal results from a November 4, 2015 judgment, wherein Jeffory Alan LaField (LaField) pled guilty to the criminal offense of felony driving under the influence of alcohol, fourth or subsequent offense, and three misdemeanors: obstructing a peace officer, driving a motor vehicle without a license, and failure to carry proof of insurance. LaField alleges violation of his due process rights, errors in sentencing, and that he was denied effective assistance of counsel. We affirm and remand for entry of an amended judgment.

         ¶2 We restate the issues on appeal as follows:

Issue One: Whether the District Court deprived LaField of his right to due process during sentencing.
Issue Two: Whether the District Court's imposition of the suspended sentence condition requiring LaField to obtain permission before engaging in business, purchasing real property, purchasing an automobile, or incurring a debt, should be stricken because of a lack of factual nexus.
Issue Three: Whether LaField was deprived of effective assistance of counsel during sentencing.
Issue Four: Whether the sentencing conditions in the written judgment should be amended to conform to oral pronouncement of the conditions.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶3 On November 15, 2014, Missoula County Sheriff Deputy Ross Jessop (Deputy Jessop) was driving southbound on Montana Highway 93. He observed a red 1997 Suzuki automobile swerve over the fog line. Deputy Jessop observed the vehicle following traffic too closely, nearly collide with another vehicle, and nearly collide with Deputy Jessop's marked patrol car. Deputy Jessop initiated a traffic stop, and the driver pulled off the highway into an adjacent parking lot. The driver told Deputy Jessop his name was Robert Richard Fowler, but was unsure of his birthdate. Deputy Jessop identified the driver as LaField. LaField was unable to produce a valid driver's license or proof of insurance.

         ¶4 Deputy Jessop observed that LaField exhibited signs of intoxication, including smelling of alcohol, droopy blood-shot eyes, extremely slurred speech, and coordination problems. LaField admitted to having consumed alcohol. Deputy Jessop initiated a field sobriety test. LaField was unable or unwilling to comply with the protocol. Deputy Jessop arrested La Field for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI). A check of LaField's driving history showed he was currently on probation for a felony DUI conviction in Ravalli County, and LaField's driving privileges were suspended. ...


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