KERRY C. STANFIELD, Petitioner and Appellant,
STATE OF MONTANA; ATTORNEY GENERAL; the HON. BRAD NEWMAN, 1 and the HON. RAY DAYTON, THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, Respondent and Appellees.
himself, Kerry C. Stanfield petitions this Court for a writ
of certiorari. He requests relief from a February 1, 2018
Powell County District Court Order, in which the court denied
his Motion for Relief from Judgment under M. R. Civ. P. 60.
Raising several issues regarding his criminal proceedings in
the District Court, Stanfield asserts his conviction is void
based upon how it was commenced.
Court is familiar with Stanfield's criminal history. In
2008, a jury convicted Stanfield of sexual assault. The
Powell County District Court sentenced him to a forty-year
prison term with ten years suspended and imposed a
fifteen-year parole restriction. Stanfield appealed.
State v. Stanfield, No. DA 08-0859. His appointed
counsel filed an Anders brief to which Stanfield
responded. This Court dismissed the appeal on June 30, 2009.
July 19, 2011 Order, this Court denied Stanfield's
petition for writ of habeas corpus in which he raised many
claims, including that "his sentence was predicated upon
false information which violated his due process
rights." Stanfield v. Frink, No. OP 11-0295,
Order (Mont, Jul. 19, 2011). We concluded that he presented
no argument challenging the legality of his imprisonment or
restraint; that he had exhausted his right to appeal; and
that he was otherwise improperly attempting to collaterally
attack his sentence.
instant petition, Stanfield considers his underlying criminal
proceeding "void" and requests further review. He
contends that the commencement of prosecution violated his
due process rights and that the plain language of §
46-11-201(2), MCA, providing for the filing of an
Information, does not clearly express the "intent of the
Framers[.]" He states that there should be "an
adversarial hearing" prior to the district judge
"granting leave to file information." Upon the
basis of a void conviction, he seeks a writ of review because
"[t]here is no need to appeal from a judgment that is
void." Heinle v. Fourth Judicial Dist. Ct, 260
Mont. 489, 495, 861 P.2d 171, 175 (1993). He requests that
the lower court "lawfully" indict him, give him a
valid trial within 60 days, or dismiss "the charges with
prejudice due to the lack of a speedy trial."
is correct that this Court may determine such "original
and remedial writs as may be necessary . . ." under the
Montana Rules of Appellate Procedure. M. R. App. P. 14(1). A
writ of certiorari "shall be commenced and conducted in
the manner prescribed by the applicable sections of the
Montana Code Annotated. . . ." M. R. App. P. 14(2).
Pursuant to § 27-25-102(2), MCA, this Court may grant a
writ of review "when a lower tribunal . . . has
exceeded the jurisdiction of the tribunal. . . and there
is no appeal, or in the judgment of the court, any plain,
speedy, and adequate remedy." (Emphasis added).
discern Stanfield's argument as being that the District
Court never had jurisdiction over his offense, based on his
interpretation of the legislative history and Convention
Delegates' intent of §46-11-201(2), MCA. However,
Stanfield does not present any argument that the District
Court exceeded its jurisdiction. See Mosely v. Lake
County, 256 Mont. 206, 208, 845 P.2d 732, 734 (1993)
(Lake County Justice Court exceeded its jurisdiction by
imposing a fine greater than that allowed by §
3-10-303(2), MCA (1991), of the fish and game statutes).
Stanfield appears to argue that the Delegates intended a
hearing be held prior to commencement of proceedings in
district court under the Montana Constitution.
Article II, Section 20 of the Montana Constitution addresses
the way criminal proceedings may be initiated:
All criminal actions in district court, except those on
appeal, shall be prosecuted either by information, after
examination and commitment by a magistrate or after leave
granted by the court, or by indictment without such
examination, commitment or leave.
Consistent with this constitutional provision, section
46-11-201, MCA (2005), provides:
(1)The prosecutor may apply directly to the district court
for permission to file an information against a named
defendant. If the defendant named is a district court judge,
the prosecutor shall apply directly to the supreme court for
leave to file the information.
(2)An application must be by affidavit supported by evidence
that the judge or chief justice may require. If it appears
that there is probable cause to believe that an offense has
been committed by the defendant, the judge or chief justice
shall grant leave to file the information, otherwise the
application is denied.
(3) When leave to file an information has been granted, a
warrant or summons may issue for the defendant's arrest
See also § 45-1-205(8), MCA (2005) ("A
prosecution is commenced either when an indictment is found
or an information or complaint is filed.').
Accordingly, there is no constitutional requirement for an
adversaria] hearing prior ...