Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Nelson

Supreme Court of Montana

March 19, 2019

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
SAMANTHA LEE NELSON, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: January 30, 2019

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Nineteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Lincoln, Cause No. DC 17-52 Honorable Matthew J. Cuffe, Presiding Judge.

          For Appellant: Chad Wright, Appellate Defender, Michael Marchesini, Assistant Appellate Defender, Helena, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Brad Fjeldheim, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana

          Marcia Boris, Lincoln County Attorney, Jeffrey Zwang, Deputy County Attorney, Libby, Montana

          OPINION

          Laurie McKinnon Justice.

         ¶1 Samantha Nelson (Nelson) appeals from a criminal sentence imposed by the Nineteenth Judicial District Court, Lincoln County. We affirm and address the following issue:

         Did the District Court err by determining that § 46-18-201(1)(b), MCA, barred it from deferring the defendant's sentence?

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶2 In May 2017, the State charged Nelson with felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs. Nelson pleaded guilty. The State and Nelson agreed to jointly recommend a two-year deferred sentence if Nelson was eligible and, if not, a two-year suspended sentence. It was later revealed that, in 2015, an Arizona state court convicted Nelson of second degree escape, a class five felony in Arizona with a maximum potential sentence of two years' imprisonment for a first-time felony offender. See Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-702(A)-(D). The Arizona court, however, sentenced Nelson to seventeen days in jail and one year of supervised probation. Nelson eventually discharged her one-year probation term.

         ¶3 Section 46-18-201(1)(b), MCA, provides that a court may not defer an offender's sentence in a felony case if she was previously convicted of a felony. The State and Nelson disagreed as to whether Nelson's Arizona conviction was a felony under § 46-18-201(1)(b), MCA. Nelson argued it was not a felony in Montana based on the sentence actually imposed by the Arizona court; the State argued it was a felony as designated by the Arizona court. The District Court ultimately agreed with the State and concluded Nelson's Arizona conviction was a felony that barred her from receiving a deferred sentence. The court accordingly imposed a two-year suspended sentence, as agreed to by the parties in the event Nelson was not eligible for a deferred sentence. Nelson appeals.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶4 District courts have broad discretion in determining an appropriate punishment and this Court only reviews a criminal sentence for legality-i.e., whether the sentence is within statutory parameters. State v. Webb, 2005 MT 5, ¶ 8, 325 Mont. 317, 106 P.3d 521. A district court's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.