Ford has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in
which he seeks resentencing for his 1999 conviction. The
Eighth Judicial District Court, Cascade County, sentenced
Ford to life imprisonment for deliberate homicide and imposed
a parole eligibility restriction.
petition, Ford contends that his sentence is illegal as the
judge illegally used an ex post facto law, namely §
46-18-219, MCA, to enhance his sentence. He explains that the
presiding judge "questioned the legality of sentencing
Ford to life without parole, and even admitted the statute
did not apply to the case at bar." He states that this
statute was applied to him because it eliminates or delays a
defendant's parole eligibility after the criminal offense
has been committed under State v. Beachman, 189
Mont. 400, 616 P.2d 337(1980).
misconstrues Beachman here. The issue in
Beachman concerned a statute's application,
which went into effect after the defendant Beachman committed
his crime. Beachman, 189 Mont, at 406, 616 P.2d at
340-41. That is not the case here. Ford committed his offense
in March 1999. "The law in effect at the time of the
crime controls as to the possible sentence." State
v. Stevens, 273 Mont. 452, 455, 904 P.2d 590, 592 (1995)
(citing State v. Azure, 179 Mont. 281, 282, 587 P.2d
1297, 1298 (1978)). The 1997 version of the statutes apply to
Ford. Not only did § 46-18-219, MCA, exist in 1997, but
so did § 46-18-202, MCA, covering additional
restrictions upon a sentence. Section 46-18-202, MCA, became
law on My 1, 1977, and § 46-18-202, MCA, applies to
Ford's sentence. Beachman, 189 Mont, at 406, 616
P.2d at 340.
of the statute at issue, Ford's sentence is not illegal.
The District Court had statutory authority to impose a parole
restriction on a prison sentence exceeding one year. Section
46-18-202(2), MCA (1997). We have decided this issue before.
Section 46-18-202(2), MCA[, ] authorizes the sentencing court
to impose restrictions, as part of the sentence, making the
defendant ineligible for parole or participation in the
supervised release program. Such restrictions may be imposed
where the court finds it necessary to protect society and
states the reasons for the restriction.
State v. Watson, 211 Mont. 401, 421, 686 P.2d 879,
889 (1984). The sentencing judge for Ford's conviction
listed eleven reasons for imposition of sentence in the
2. The Defendant has not done well while on probation/parole.
3. As pointed out in the presentence investigation report,
except for alcohol being involved, there are no mitigating
4. Adult probation recommended a lengthy sentence to the
Montana State Prison.
5. Defendant's counsel recommended a sixty (60) year
sentence to Montana State Prison.
6. The County Attorney recommended a sentence of 100 years to
Montana State Prison with the Defendant being declared
ineligible for parole for the first forty (40) years.
7. The Defendant has an extensive history of drug and alcohol
8. The force used in the commission of the crime was great
and extended for some time, giving evidence of great anger.
The victim suffered a crushed larynx, several broken ribs,
crushed sternum, and a broken jaw, as well as groin and
testicular injury. The victim's dentures were not found
on the initial examination of the victim's mouth, but
were later found to be pushed down ...