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Collins v. Pinski

Supreme Court of Montana

May 22, 2018

JOSEPH COLLINS, Petitioner,
v.
MONTANA EIGHTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, CASCADE COUNTY, THE HONORABLE GREGORY G. PINSKI, PRESIDING, Respondent.

          Petition for Writ of Supervisory Control, In and for the County of Cascade, Cause No. ADC-17-630 The Honorable Gregory G. Pinski, Presiding Judge

         For Petitioner

          Chad Wright, Appellate Defender, Koan Mercer, Assistant Appellate Defender, Helena, Montana

         For Respondent

          The Honorable Gregory G. Pinski, Montana Eighth Judicial District Court, Great Falls, Montana

          Jennifer Quick, Deputy Cascade County Attorney, Great Falls, Montana

          OPINION

          Laurie McKinnon Justice

         ¶1 Petitioner Joseph Collins asks this Court to exercise supervisory control over the Eighth Judicial District Court, Cascade County, in Cause No. ADC-17-630, following the District Court's denial of Collins's motion to substitute assigned Judge Pinski (Substitution Motion). We grant the writ of supervisory control and address the following issue:

         Did the District Court improperly deny Collins's Substitution Motion?

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶2 The State charged Collins with assault with a weapon and the District Court scheduled Collins's arraignment for January 4, 2018. Collins did not appear at his arraignment and the District Court issued an arrest warrant. The police arrested Collins and the District Court subsequently set Collins's arraignment for January 25, 2018. Collins appeared at his January 25, 2018 arraignment, and on January 31, 2018, filed the Substitution Motion pursuant to § 3-1-804, MCA.

         ¶3 The District Court denied Collins's Substitution Motion as untimely. The court noted that under § 3-1-804(1)(b), MCA, a party must file a motion for substitution within ten calendar days after the defendant's arraignment. The court decided that Collins's arraignment occurred on January 4, 2018, as the "plain language of the substitution statute does not require a personal appearance by Defendant." The District Court determined Collins's Substitution Motion was due on January 15, 2018, and therefore found Collins's request untimely. Collins filed a petition for writ of supervisory control, requesting this Court instruct the District Court to vacate its order denying substitution. The District Court responded, maintaining that it properly interpreted the statute and that Collins failed to timely file his motion.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶4 This Court has supervisory control over all other state courts. Mont. Const. art. VII, § 2(2). We exercise supervisory control on a case-by-case basis, as it is an extraordinary remedy that "is sometimes justified when urgency or emergency factors exist making the normal appeal process inadequate, when the case involves purely legal questions, and when . . . [t]he other ...


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