Submitted on Briefs: November 28, 2018
FROM: District Court of the First Judicial District, In and
For the County of Lewis and Clark, Cause No. BDC 2016-53
Honorable Michael F. McMahon, Presiding Judge
Appellant: Colin M. Stephens, Smith & Stephens, P.C.,
Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Katie F.
Schulz, Daniel Guzynski, Mary E. Cochenour, Assistant
Attorneys General, Helena, Montana
Gallagher, Lewis & Clark County Attorney, Helena, Montana
Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court
Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum
opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as
precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition
shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of
noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and
Appellant Thomas Emil Sliwinski (Sliwinski) appeals his
conviction of bail jumping, in violation of § 45-7-308,
MCA, following jury trial in the First Judicial District,
Lewis and Clark County.
Sliwinski was charged with bail jumping on September 9, 2004,
after failing to appear for probation revocation proceedings
on September 2, 2004, related to two previous felony
convictions. Shortly after failing to appear, Sliwinski fled
to Mexico and was not apprehended until 2015. Sliwinski was
extradited to the United States, and ultimately to Montana,
in January 2016 and was placed in custody in the Lewis and
Clark County Detention Center. Sliwinski pled not guilty, and
trial was held January 23-25, 2017.
Sliwinski filed a pre-trial motion in limine to exclude
reference to his previous convictions. Specifically,
Sliwinski sought to exclude:
[E]vidence of any other crimes, wrongs, or acts allegedly
committed by Defendant, including but not limited to the
following: any prior convictions, specifically his
convictions in Lewis and Clark County ... the details of the
allegations underlying those convictions, any reference to
the Defendant's participation in any sex offender
treatment and/or counseling, any other charges, arrests,
citations, complaints, or convictions . . . and any
references to the Defendant (1) having multiple wives; (2)
being classified as a sexual offender; (3) being arrested and
extradited back to Montana in 2015.
State agreed that the convictions and underlying details were
inadmissible, but argued that Sliwinski's probation
status in those cases was admissible as relevant to the fact
that he had to be extradited back to Montana. The District
Court granted the motion in part and denied in part.
At trial, the State called Robert Ryan (Ryan), a "bounty
hunter" who worked for the company that provided
Sliwinski bail in 2004, as a witness in its case-in-chief.
Ryan testified about his attempts to locate Sliwinski. During
questioning by the State about evidence that had been ...