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State v. Hinshaw

Supreme Court of Montana

March 20, 2018

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
MICHAEL RAY HINSHAW, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: February 21, 2018

         APPEAL FROM District Court of the Thirteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Yellowstone, Cause No. DC 14-0805 Honorable Michael G. Moses, Presiding Judge

          Chad Wright, Appellate Defender, Kristina Neal, Assistant Appellate Defender; Helena, Montana For Appellant

          Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Mardell Ployhar, Assistant Attorney General; Helena, Montana Scott D. Twito, Yellowstone County Attorney, Christopher A. Morris, Deputy County Attorney; Billings, Montana For Appellee

          OPINION

          INGRID GUSTAFSON Justice

         ¶1 Michael Hinshaw (Hinshaw) appeals from an October 20, 2016 judgment of the Thirteenth Judicial District Court, Yellowstone County, following his guilty plea to felony possession of dangerous drugs. We affirm.

         ¶2 We restate the issues on appeal as follows:

         1. Whether the District Court erred in failing to consider alternatives to imprisonment;

         2. Whether the District Court erred by imposing public defender fees, prosecution and supervision costs, and conviction surcharges without considering Hinshaw's ability to pay;

         3. Whether Hinshaw's counsel was ineffective when she failed to make objection concerning his ability to pay.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶3 On September 28, 2014, a hotel employee contacted police to report a man making threats and refusing to leave. Officers identified Hinshaw based on the employee's description and later stopped him in his car. Pursuant to a search warrant, law enforcement searched Hinshaw's vehicle and found a syringe with methamphetamine residue. Hinshaw was charged with felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. The State filed a notice of its intention to designate Hinshaw as a persistent felony offender (PFO). Hinshaw entered into a plea agreement whereby he agreed to plead guilty to the felony offense and the State agreed to dismiss the misdemeanor charge. Further, the State would argue for a five-year sentence to the Montana State Prison and Hinshaw was free to argue for a lesser sentence. On June 10, 2016, pursuant to the plea agreement, Hinshaw pled guilty to felony possession of dangerous drugs.

         ¶4 Prior to sentencing, Hinshaw filed a Notice of Intent to Assert Exception to Minimum Mandatory Sentence, Motion to Challenge Imposition of PFO and Brief in Support. Therein, Hinshaw argued the PFO statute was unconstitutional and requested the court apply § 46-18-222(2), MCA, to find an exception to the mandatory minimum sentence.

         ¶5 At sentencing, the District Court indicated it was unwilling to find the PFO statute unconstitutional. Following which, Hinshaw then requested the District Court find an exception to the mandatory minimum prescribed by the PFO statute pursuant to § 46-18-222(2), MCA. The District Court asked Hinshaw's counsel to explain why an exception should apply. Hinshaw's counsel elaborated as to Hinshaw's mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The District Court considered Hinshaw's mental health conditions, specifically ...


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