Submitted on Briefs: January 3, 2018
FROM: DISTRICT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT, IN AND
FOR THE COUNTY OF PARK, CAUSE NO. DC 15-21 HONORABLE DAVID
CYBULSKI, PRESIDING JUDGE
Appellant Chad Wright, Appellate Defender, Koan Mercer,
Assistant Appellate Defender, Helena, Montana
Appellee Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Jonathan
M. Krauss, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana
E. Becker, Park County Attorney, Kathleen Carrick, Deputy
County Attorney, Livingston, Montana
M. SANDEFUR JUSTICE.
Lewis Eldon Huffine appeals the judgment of conviction of the
Montana Sixth Judicial District Court, Park County on four
counts of felony violation of a protective order. Huffine
collaterally challenges the validity of the underlying 2006
protective order and further asserts that pretrial delay
denied him a speedy trial in violation of the Sixth and
Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and
Article II, Section 24 of the Montana Constitution. We affirm
in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.
Huffine presents the following issues for review:
the District Court err by failing to analyze Huffine's
speedy trial claim?
the District Court err by denying Huffine's motion to
dismiss in which he collaterally challenged the
constitutional validity of the 2006 protective order?
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
In 2006, Toba Lord filed a petition in the Montana 18th
Judicial District Court, Gallatin County, for a permanent
order of protection against Huffine. The petition alleged
that Huffine stalked Lord and her family and sent numerous
unwanted communications causing her to fear for their safety.
Huffine failed to appear at the show cause hearing on the
petition on November 16, 2006, and the court granted the
petition and issued a permanent protective order enjoining
Huffine from having contact with Lord and her family. On
December 22, 2006, Huffine timely appealed and challenged,
inter alia, the validity of the protective order on
the asserted ground that he did not receive notice of the
November 2006 hearing upon which the District Court issued
the order. He subsequently filed numerous rambling related
pro se motions and petitions. On November 14, 2007, we
dismissed the appeal on procedural grounds pursuant to M. R.
App. P. 12(1)(f) (2007) due to failure to cite to relevant
legal authorities and the pertinent portions of the District
Court record upon which he asserted error.
In spring 2007, while his appeal was still pending, Huffine
again sent numerous letters to Lord's address. In June
2007, the State charged him in the Montana Eighteenth
Judicial District Court with one count of stalking and two
counts of violating a protective order. At Huffine's
request, the court appointed a public defender to represent
him. After the State amended the charges to eight counts of
violating a protective order in violation of § 45-5-626,
MCA, the matter proceeded to jury trial on January 29, 2009.
On the morning of trial, Huffine alleged that the District
Court did not have jurisdiction over him, that the court was
biased and prejudiced against him, that he had the right to
represent himself, that the court unlawfully denied him the
right to depose Lord and file legal documents in the case,
and that the State failed to provide him with requisite
discovery. Later that same day, the court allowed Huffine to
leave the courtroom and observe the trial via closed-circuit
television from another room. On the second day of trial,
Huffine returned to the courtroom but the court later
excluded him after he ignored repeated warnings to be quiet
and allow his counsel to represent him. Huffine did not
challenge the validity of the 2006 protective order in the
2007 criminal proceeding. After the jury convicted him on all
eight counts of violating a protective order, Huffine timely
appealed, asserting only that his 2009 conviction was invalid
on the ground that the District Court denied him his
constitutional rights to be personally present and represent
himself at trial. In March 2010, we affirmed his 2009
conviction. State v. Huffine, 2010 MT 67N.
Between 2013 and 2015, in continued disregard of the 2006
protective order, Huffine sent four additional letters to
Lord. On March 4, 2015, the State charged Huffine in Park
County Justice Court with four counts of attempted violation
of a protective order in violation of § 45-5-626, MCA.
Upon dismissal in Justice Court, the State refiled the
charges in District Court on March 19, 2015. After the
District Court continued the original April 21st hearing
date, Huffine appeared on June 9, 2015, for initial
appearance and arraignment. Huffine subsequently filed
hundreds of rambling pro se documents challenging the
validity of the underlying 2006 protective order due to lack
of notice and opportunity to be heard. Lacking pertinent
legal citation, cogent legal analysis, and supporting
evidentiary showing, Huffine's filings, liberally
construed, are best characterized as motions to ...