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Ring v. Guyer

Supreme Court of Montana

February 26, 2019

RANDY BILL RING, Petitioner,
v.
LYNN GUYER, WARDEN, Respondent.

          ORDER

         Randy Bill Ring petitions this Court for habeas corpus relief, contending that his sentence is illegal because his sentencing's oral judgment does not conform with his Second Amended Judgment and Commitment, issued by the First Judicial District Court, Lewis and Clark County, on January 2, 2015. (Emphasis in original). Ring cites to § 46-18-116, MCA, and contends: "The way [his] [Judgment] is written it would hinder [his] right to parole." He lists several Montana cases to support his claim that his written judgment is illegal.

         This Court is familiar with Ring's history.[1] A jury found Randy Bill Ring guilty of incest on February 16, 2012. On June 14, 2012, the First Judicial District Court, Lewis and Clark County, sentenced him to the Montana State Prison for a twenty-year term (hereinafter 2012 sentence). The 2012 sentence was to be served consecutive to a prior sentence for forgery in the Third Judicial District Court, Powell County. On September 4, 2012, the Lewis and Clark County Attorney filed a motion to amend Ring's Judgment and Commitment asserting the 2012 sentence should have run consecutively to his sentence imposed in federal court as well as his sentence from Powell County District Court. On September 5, 2012, the Lewis and Clark County District Court issued an Amended Judgment and Commitment and revised the sentence:

[T]hat for the felony offense of INCEST, the defendant is sentenced to Montana State Prison for twenty (20) years, said sentence to run consecutively to the sentences imposed upon the defendant federally and in Cause No. DC-06-03, Montana Third Judicial District Court, Powell County,

         Amended Judgment and Commitment, p. 2 (First Judicial Dist. Ct., Lewis and Clark Co., Mont. Sept. 5, 2012) (emphasis in original).

         Through counsel, Ring timely appealed his 2012 conviction and sentence. This Court affirmed Ring's conviction in a February 25, 2014 decision. State v. Ring, 2014 MT 49, 374 Mont. 109, 321 P.3d 800. We remanded to the Lewis and Clark County District Court to strike the conditions because Ring had no suspended sentence and thus, the conditions would be for parole. Ring, ¶¶ 34, 39. The District Court then issued its Second Amended Judgment and Commitment on January 2, 2015. The court restated the previous conditions as recommendations for parole. "The [c]ourt recommends to the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole [Board] to condition the defendant's eligibility for parole upon his successful completion of SOP I and SOP II at Montana State Prison." Second Amended Judgment and Commitment, at 3 (Mont. First Judicial Dist. Ct., Lewis and Clark County Jan. 2, 2015).

         Ring does not have an illegal judgment or sentence. The District Court recommended to the Board the two phases of sex offender program (SOP) treatment that Ring should complete before parole eligibility in compliance with this Court's Opinion on remand. Ring, ¶ 39. The District Court is only correcting the judgment after remand from an appellate court. See § 46-18-116(3), MCA; State v. Christianson, 199 MT 156, ¶ 23, 295 Mont. 100, 983 P.2d 909. Ring's argument that his oral judgment does not conform to his written judgment also fails. The time has run. In the January 2, 2015 Second Amended Judgment and Commitment, as attached to his petition, the court stated that pursuant to § 46-18-116, MCA, Ring would have 120 days to present any conflict. Ring has raised this issue some four years later.

         Ring has not demonstrated an illegal incarceration in his petition. Section 46-22-101(1), MCA. We have stated before that "no discrepancy exists between the oral judgment and the written judgments for the 2012 sentence." Ring v. State, No OP 17-0408, Order, at 4 (Mont. Oct. 3, 2017). No amendment or correction in 2015 by the District Court changes that conclusion. Ring is correct that the court's SOP recommendation affects his consideration for parole, but it does not hinder his right to parole. Parole considerations, however, are within the Board's broad discretion, and not with this Court. McDermott v. McDonald, 2001 MT 89, ¶¶ 24-25, 305 Mont. 166, 24 P.3d 200. Ring has a lawful sentence and he is not entitled to habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Ring's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus is DENIED.

         The Clerk is directed to provide a copy of this Order to counsel of record and to Randy Bill Ring personally.

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Notes:

[1] State v. Ring, No. DA 16-0727, 2018 MT 4ON, Mont., P.3d; Ring v. State, No. OP 17-0408, 390 Mont. 423, 410 P.3d 173 (table); and State v. Ring, No. DA 12-0457, 2014 MT 49, ...


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