Petitioner State of Montana asks this Court to exercise
supervisory control over the Eighteenth Judicial District
Court in Gallatin County Cause No. DC-17-32A. In that case,
Jake William Collins is charged with deliberate homicide in
connection with the death of his wife, Crystal Rianna
to the State's affidavit of probable cause to support the
charges, Crystal's mother reported her daughter missing
on January 2, 2017. A Gallatin County sheriffs detective
contacted Collins, who advised that he and Crystal had gotten
into a fight on New Year's Eve, and Crystal had left.
Collins later agreed to an interview, waived his
Miranda rights, and confessed to killing his wife.
Officers found Crystal's body in the bed of Collins's
Collins was charged, his defense team arranged for a
psychiatric evaluation with Dr. William Stratford. Dr.
Stratford issued a report in August 2017, opining that
Collins was "not psychotic, he does not suffer from a
mental disease or defect, and he is fully competent to stand
trial." Stratford concluded, however, that,
"[g]iven the constellation and assimilation of the
social trajectory factors at that time, ... [Collins] was
operating under extreme mental and emotional stress at the
time due to an accumulation of unresolved factors, fueled by
the ingestion of alcohol." The State moved for an order
from the District Court giving the State's expert, Dr.
Bowman Smelko, access to Collins for a psychological
examination to determine whether "at the time of the
alleged offenses Defendant had a particular state of mind
that is an essential element of the offenses charged."
Following its consideration of argument from both parties,
the District Court denied the motion on May 23, 2018.
State asks us to reverse the District Court's Order
denying its motion for an independent mental evaluation of
the Defendant or, in the alternative, to exclude Dr.
Stratford's testimony. The District Court held that
because the 2003 Montana Legislature amended § 45-5-103,
MCA, to clarify that a defendant no longer has the burden to
prove mitigation in arguing for the lesser offense of
mitigated deliberate homicide, the authority on which the
State relied was not apposite. The court held that there is
no statutory authority to compel a defendant to submit to an
independent mental evaluation for the purpose of analyzing
mitigation. The State maintains that the change in the
statute provides no basis for the court to distinguish this
Court's holding in Park v. Mont. Sixth Judicial Dist.
Court, 1998 MT 164, 289 Mont. 367, 961 P.2d 1267, and
doing so constitutes a mistake of law. The State asserts that
it has no adequate legal remedy on appeal if it is unable to
meet and test the psychological proof Collins proffers and a
jury acquits him of deliberate homicide.
invitation, both the District Court and Collins have
responded. The District Court relies on the rationale set
forth in its May 23 Order. Collins argues that his evidence
of mitigating circumstances under § 45-5-103, MCA-that
Collins purposely or knowingly caused Crystal's death but
did so under the influence of extreme mental or emotional
stress for which there is reasonable explanation or
excuse-does not put in issue Collins's mental state or
whether he had a particular state of mind that is an
essential element of the offense charged. Collins points out
that whether a defendant was acting under extreme mental or
emotional stress for which there is reasonable explanation or
excuse is a mitigating circumstance, and is not an element of
the offense. See § 45-5-103(3), MCA; State
v. Gratzer, 209 Mont. 308, 682 P.2d 141 (1984). For that
reason, evidence of mitigating circumstances does not relate
to the essential element of mental state necessary for proof
State agrees that the change in the statute no longer
requires a defendant to present evidence amounting to a
preponderance to prove the homicide was committed under
mitigating circumstances, but argues that once a defendant
chooses to present such evidence using expert testimony, the
State is entitled as a matter of fairness to its own expert
examination of the defendant and to present rebuttal
criminal procedure statutes contain specific provisions for
disclosures and discovery by the parties. Section
46-15-323(1), MCA, compels certain disclosures by a defendant
at any time after charges are filed, "upon written
request of the prosecutor and approval of the court."
Among the listed requirements, the defendant "shall
submit to a reasonable physical or medical inspection."
That inspection, however, "does not include psychiatric
or psychological examination." Section 46-15-323(1)(h),
MCA. Rather, the prosecution's right to seek a
defendant's psychiatric or psychological examination is
governed by §§ 46-14-204 and -205, MCA. Section
46-14-204, MCA, applies when the question is raised whether a
defendant is suffering from a mental disease or disorder.
Under § 46-14-205, MCA, the prosecution may request
access by its examiner to the defendant "in order to
determine the defendant's fitness to proceed or whether
the defendant had, at the time the offense was committed, a
particular state of mind that is an essential element of the
offense[.]" Thus, when a defendant puts his or her
mental state into issue, the State is entitled to have the
defendant examined by its own expert and to present rebuttal
testimony. State v. Hess, 252 Mont. 205, 211, 828
P.2d 382, 386 (1992).
person commits the offense of mitigated deliberate homicide
when the person purposely or knowingly causes the death of
another human being .. . but does so under the influence of
extreme mental or emotional stress for which there is
reasonable explanation or excuse." Section 45-5-103(1),
MCA. Mitigated deliberate homicide is a lesser-included
offense of deliberate homicide under § 45-5-102(1)(a),
MCA, the statute under which Collins is charged. Section
45-5-103(2), MCA. As amended in 2003, the statute provides:
Mitigating circumstances that reduce deliberate homicide to
mitigated deliberate homicide are not an element of the
reduced crime that the state is required to prove or an
affirmative defense that the defendant is required to prove.
Neither party has the burden of proof as to mitigating
circumstances, but either party may present evidence of
Section 45-5-103(3), MCA. The amended statute is consistent
with this Court's opinion in Gratzer. There we
Under the statutory scheme defining homicide in the Montana
Criminal Code of 1973, all purposely and knowingly
committed homicides are deliberate unless committed under
the influence of extreme mental or emotional stress. In
defining the offense of mitigated deliberate homicide, the
legislature did not create an additional element for the
State to prove relating to mental or emotional stress. It
simply stated the kind of mitigation that would reduce a
deliberate homicide to a mitigated deliberate homicide.
Gratzer, 209 Mont, at 316, 682 P.2d at 145. The
mental states applicable to deliberate homicide are
purposely, § 45-2-101(65), MCA, and knowingly, §
express terms of the statute, mitigated deliberate homicide
assumes that a defendant acted purposely or knowingly.
Whether he did so under mitigating circumstances, within the
meaning of § 45-5-103, MCA, is not proof of a particular
mental state or lack thereof. Collins therefore argues that
§ 46-14-205, MCA, does not authorize a psychiatric or
psychological evaluation at the behest of the State to
examine a defendant's claimed extreme mental or emotional
stress at the time of the homicide.
rejected a similar argument in Park. We noted our
decision in Hess that a defendant's assertion of
justifiable use of force "based on battered woman
syndrome and her reliance on expert psychological testimony
to support her defense put her mental state at issue."
Park, ¶ 23. We concluded that mitigated
deliberate homicide, which Park had, asserted, also
"clearly depends on proof of Park's mental state at
the time of the acts alleged." Park, ¶ 26.
Because Park intended to prove his mental condition with
expert psychological or psychiatric testimony, we ...