MYWOND J. WEBSTER, Petitioner,
JIM SALMONSEN, Acting Warden, Montana State Prison, Respondent.
J. Webster has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus,
asserting that his incarceration is illegal because he
maintains that he had no knowledge of his duty to register as
a sexual offender.
has at least two convictions in Montana for failure to
register. On November 22, 2011, Webster pleaded guilty to
failure to register as a sexual or violent offender pursuant
to § 46-23-504, MCA, in the Fourth Judicial District
Court, Missoula County. The District Court imposed a
five-year suspended sentence to the Montana State Prison
except for his credit of 172 days of time served. At that
time, as stated in the court's Judgment, this offense was
Webster's second for failure to register. The court
issued its written judgment on February 29, 2012. Webster did
7, 2015, the Missoula County District Court revoked
Webster's 2012 sentence and imposed a five-year prison
sentence. On the same day, Webster also received a suspended
five-year prison sentence for a 2014 charge of failure to
register. Webster appealed both sentences. Webster, through
counsel, moved for voluntary dismissal of both appeals. This
Court granted the motions. State v. Webster, No. DA
16-0526, Order (Mont. Apr. 17, 2017) and State v.
Webster, No. DA 16-0613, Order (Mont. Apr. 17, 2017),
Webster contends that he does "not have an offense
requiring registration because [he] was not convicted as
defined under Montana law[.]" Webster claims that his
"original guilty plea is invalid[, ]" that he is
"innocent of the charge, " and that his
"subsequent revocation is also invalid . . . ." He
points to his entry of nolo contendere as listed in the
attached Florida court disposition and minute entry, which
both state that "Adjudication of Guilt was
withheld." Webster surmises that the Florida court's
disposition precludes his requirement for registration.
Webster cites to a 2001 California case as support for his
claim that he must have "knowledge of the duty to
register." People v. Garcia, 23 P.3d 590, 594
(Cal. 2001). He further asserts that he is "legally
innocent of the underlying offense." Webster requests
his immediate release from prison.
corpus affords applicants an opportunity to challenge
collaterally the legality of their present incarceration.
Section 46-22-101(1), MCA; Lott v. State, 2006 MT
279, ¶ 9, 334 Mont. 270, 150 P.3d 337. Webster is doubly
constrained in raising any challenge to his Montana
convictions and sentences. He is barred from raising these
issues in his instant petition, and these issues would have
been more appropriately raised in his appeals, which he
voluntarily dismissed last year. Webster has, thus, exhausted
this remedy. Section 46-22-101(1), MCA; Lott, ¶
19. Section 46-22-101(2), MCA, also states that habeas corpus
"relief under this chapter is not available to attack
the legality of an order revoking a suspended or deferred
sentence." Webster is statutorily precluded from seeking
habeas corpus relief from an order revoking a suspended
sentence. Even though Webster is time- and
procedurally-barred from raising these claims in a petition
for a writ of habeas corpus, this Court will address them to
dispel any misunderstanding about his requirement to register
as a sexual offender.
petition, Webster is referring to his 1998 case from Florida.
His attachments, which cite Florida statutes, do not support
his claims. While Webster's original crime did not occur
in Montana, he did receive a conviction in 1998 as defined
under Florida law. On June 18, 1998, he entered a plea of
nolo contendere or, no contest, to attempted lewd act upon a
child under Fla. Stat. § 777.04 and § 800.04(3) in
the Fifth Circuit Court, in and for Orange County, Florida.
The Circuit Court ordered that Webster serve 99 days, and
placed him on Community Control for one year to be followed
by two years of supervised probation. While
"Adjudication of Guilt was withheld" as noted in
the court's disposition, Webster was still convicted of
this offense. Pursuant to relevant Florida statutes,
"'Convicted' means the person has been
determined guilty as a result of a plea or a trial,
regardless of whether adjudication is withheld." Fla.
Stat. § 775.2l(2)(c). This section
"generally applies to all sexual
offenders." State v. J.M., 824 So.2d 105, 112
(Fla. 2002) (emphasis in original). See also Montgomery
v. State, 897 So.2d 1282, 1286 (Fla. 2005) ("We
therefore hold that a no contest plea followed by a withhold
of adjudication is a conviction for purposes of sentencing ..
had knowledge of his requirement to register almost twenty
years ago. A sexual offender is required to register with the
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FLDE). Fla. Stat.
§ 943.0435. Under Florida statutes, "a sexual
offender shall maintain registration with the department for
the duration of his or her life . . . ." Fla. Stat.
§ 943.0435(11). Webster's attached FLDE Notice of
Responsibilities, dated December 15, 2000, bears
Webster's signature and demonstrates that he had
knowledge of his registration requirement and the added
responsibility to register in another state. Condition number
11 on this one-page document reads: "If I am employed,
carry on a vocation, am a student, or become a resident of
another state I must register in that state." Webster
cannot come to this Court almost two decades later after
receiving this Notice of Responsibilities and make these
claims. He is not entitled to habeas corpus relief or his
immediate release. Therefore, IT IS ORDERED that
Webster's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is DENIED.
Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Order to counsel of
record and ...