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City of Libby v. Hubbard

Supreme Court of Montana

January 2, 2018

CITY OF LIBBY, Plaintiff and Appellee,
SHAYNA HUBBARD, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: November 1, 2017

         APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Nineteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Lincoln, Cause No. DC 15-28 Honorable James B. Wheelis, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Chad Wright, Chief Appellate Defender, Danny Tenenbaum, Assistant Appellate Defender; Helena, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Mardell Ployhar, Assistant Attorney General; Helena, Montana Dean D. Chisholm, Libby City Attorney; Libby, Montana


          Jim Rice Justice

         ¶1 Shayna Hubbard (Hubbard) appeals from the judgment entered by the Nineteenth Judicial District Court, Lincoln County, convicting her of driving with a suspended license under § 61-5-212, MCA, and failing to show proof of liability insurance under § 61-6-302, MCA. We affirm, addressing the following issue:

         Should Hubbard's convictions be reversed because of ineffective assistance of counsel?


         ¶2 On November 8, 2014, Hubbard, an Oregon resident, and her cousin, Olivia Schultz (Schultz), went to the Lucky Logger Casino in Libby to gamble. Hubbard was 19 years old and could legally gamble, but only patrons who were 21 years old and older were eligible to receive a gambling coupon, so she provided another person's identification to a casino employee to get the coupon. An employee who recognized Hubbard and knew she was using another person's identification called the police.

         ¶3 Officers John Powell and Brad Dodson went to the casino to investigate. Officer Powell approached Hubbard and asked if she had used another person's identification and Hubbard confirmed she had. Officer Powell asked for her identification, and she gave him both her own driver's license from Oregon and the other person's identification she had used. Officer Powell confirmed that Hubbard had no outstanding warrants, but learned that Hubbard's Oregon driver's license was suspended. Officer Powell informed Hubbard that it is illegal to use another person's identification, but decided not to cite her for the offense. The officers then left the casino.

         ¶4 Officer Powell got back into his vehicle and resumed his patrol, and a short while later, observed Hubbard driving. He initiated a traffic stop because he knew her license was suspended. Powell verified through dispatch that Hubbard's license was suspended. Hubbard was also unable to provide proof of insurance. Officer Powell arrested Hubbard and cited her with driving with a suspended license and failing to provide proof of insurance.

         ¶5 On November 12, Hubbard appeared in Libby City Court, pled not guilty to the charges, and asked for appointment of a public defender. Attorney S. Charles Sprinkle (Counsel) was appointed for the city court trial. On April 9, 2015, Hubbard was tried in absentia in a bench trial in Libby City Court and was convicted on both counts. Counsel filed a Notice of Appeal, asking for a trial de novo. A jury trial in district court was scheduled for later that year. Counsel and Hubbard conversed by email, wherein Hubbard explained her belief that Officer Powell had entrapped her by allegedly telling her to drive from the casino, with knowledge her license was suspended, because her companion, Schultz, had been drinking. Counsel thereafter filed an Omnibus Hearing Memorandum in which he "reserve[d] the right to introduce evidence of entrapment as a defense[.]"

         ¶6 On July 31, Counsel moved to withdraw from Hubbard's representation, citing § 46-8-103, MCA, and arguing that a new trial in District Court "would be frivolous or wholly without merit." Counsel filed a supporting memorandum and attached several documents, including the email Hubbard had sent to him explaining why she believed she was entrapped. Counsel argued the entrapment defense would be frivolous, and the problem with a mental state defense would be:

The fact that it was obvious that [Hubbard] had to have driven to the location (Lucky Logger Casino) in total disregard of the fact that her license was suspended before she was even investigated for using a phony ID, told to leave the premises, and ultimately stopped for Driving While Suspended. In other words, Shayna Hubbard had a predilection to commit the crime of Driving While Suspended before she even arrived at the Lucky Logger Casino. ...

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