Jo Lewis has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus,
indicating that she is being held in the Missoula County
Detention Center with an excessive bail, making her
incarceration illegal. She includes several attachments with
presents a twenty-six-page, single-spaced petition with
forty-nine pages of appendices. As a threshold matter,
Lewis's petition exceeds limitations on length of
petitions that may be filed with this Court as it is clearly
in excess of 4, 000 words or twelve pages. M. R. App. P.
l4(9)(b). We require all litigants to comply with Court rules
and could dismiss the petition on this basis alone.
asserts that she has been unlawfully detained. Lewis explains
that she arrived in jail after her arrest on August 21, 2018,
in Beaverhead County, Montana. She adds that she and her
daughter are lawful Montana residents since September 11,
2017. Lewis argues that her arrest, confinement, and Order of
Commitment are all illegal. She points to § 46-30-302,
MCA, and contends this Order should be for only thirty days,
not ninety days as stated. She states that the Justice Court
Judge decreased her $100, 000 bond to $10, 000 cash only.
Lewis contends that this is "an insult to the integrity
of the court to such an [egregious] amount in cash appearing
to be a reduction but is the same amount the [Petitioner]
would [have] had to pay a bondsman." She requests to be
released on her own recognizance.
attachments to her instant petition provide more context
here. She includes copies of an arrest warrant and criminal
complaint from the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Missouri, which were all issued on August
6, 2018, and the August 23, 2018 Missoula County Justice
Court Order of Commitment. Lewis has been charged with
unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, in violation of federal
law, as of June 1, 2018. The Justice Court's Order of
Commitment reads that Lewis was charged with felony child
abduction in Missouri and has fled. This Order imposed a
ninety-day commitment. An October 1, 2018 Justice Court
letter informs Lewis that she still is represented by a
secured a copy of the Justice Court docket. The court
appointed a public defender on August 23, 2018, and she had
an appearance on September 7, 2018. A status hearing was held
on September 21, 2018.
is not entitled to habeas corpus relief. Habeas corpus
affords applicants an opportunity to challenge collaterally
the legality of their present incarceration. Section
46-22-101(1), MCA; Lott v. State, 2006 MT 279,
¶ 9, 334 Mont. 270, 150 P.3d 337. She is not being held
illegally, and the reason for her detention is evident. Lewis
is not entitled to release on her own recognizance. She is
being held until the Governor issues a warrant for her arrest
and her return to Missouri. Section 46-30-215, MCA.
Lewis does not demonstrate illegal incarceration in her
petition and we do not have the complete record for review,
this Court has concerns about the Justice Court's August
23, 2018 Order of Commitment, imposing a ninety-day
commitment initially. Under Montana statutes, a court may
impose for a person, who has fled from justice after the
alleged commission of a crime, a commitment "to the
county jail for a time not exceeding 30 days . . . ."
Section 46-30-302, MCA. A court may extend a commitment for
another sixty days after a bail amount is changed or a
governor's warrant has not issued, pursuant to §
46-30-304, MCA. It is unclear whether the court considered a
change of circumstances to issue a ninety-day commitment
initially instead of a thirty-day commitment.
is represented by counsel who has filed motions, including
bond reduction, on her behalf. Lewis has also filed a.
pro se petition with this Court. Only counsel should
file motions and papers with the Courts on her behalf. Courts
may properly refuse to accept pro se pleadings from
defendants who are represented by counsel. State v.
Samples, 2005 MT 210, ¶ 15, 328 Mont. 242, 119 P.3d
Court also cautions Lewis to refrain from filing pleadings,
for which she has not personally drafted or signed. Lewis
includes a second petition for habeas corpus relief, which
she states was drafted and signed by family members. This is
an unauthorized practice of law because her family members
are not licensed to practice law in Montana. Section
37-61-416, MCA. Therefore, IT IS ORDERED that Lewis's
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus is DENIED.
Clerk of the Supreme Court is directed to provide a copy of
this Order to Missoula County Justice Court, Judge Marie A.
Andersen; to Erynn Flaherty, Missoula County Justice Court
Clerk, Department 1; to Caitlin Schwinden Williams, Missoula
County Attorney's ...