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Mascarena v. State

Supreme Court of Montana

April 2, 2019

RONALD MASCARENA, Petitioner and Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MONTANA, Respondent and Appellee.

          Submitted on Briefs: February 27, 2019

          Appeal From District Court of the Thirteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Yellowstone, Cause No. DV 15-1166 Honorable Ingrid G. Gustafson, Presiding Judge.

          For Appellant: Ronald Mascarena, Self-Represented, Butte, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Tammy A. Hinderman, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana Scott Twito, Yellowstone County Attorney, Billings, Montana

          MIKE McGRATH JUDGE.

         ¶1 Ronald Fermin Mascarena appeals from an order of the Thirteenth Judicial District Court, Yellowstone County, dismissing his petition for postconviction relief without an evidentiary hearing. We affirm.

         ¶2 We restate the issue on appeal as follows:

         Whether the District Court erred when it dismissed Mascarena's petition for postconviction relief.

         PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         ¶3 In 1999, Mascarena pleaded guilty to felony Partner or Family Member Assault (PFMA) and was required to register as a violent offender. In 2007, Mascarena was charged with failure to register as a violent offender, a felony. He entered a plea of nolo contendere and was sentenced to three years to the Department of Corrections, all suspended. Mascarena's sentence was subsequently revoked in August 2009, and again in October 2009. In February 2011, Mascarena filed a petition for an out-of-time appeal to this Court concerning his failure to register conviction, alleging extraordinary circumstances justified his untimely appeal. This Court granted the petition. However, the appeal was ultimately dismissed on September 20, 2011, when the appeal was deemed frivolous. On September 2, 2015, Mascarena filed a petition for postconviction relief. On December 20, 2016, the District Court dismissed the petition without a hearing, concluding Mascarena's claims were time barred and finding no equitable grounds to extend the deadline. Mascarena appeals.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶4 We review a district court's denial of a petition for postconviction relief to determine whether that court's findings are clearly erroneous and whether its conclusions of law are correct. Walker v. State, 2003 MT 134, ¶ 36, 316 Mont. 103, 68 P.3d 872. A petitioner seeking to reverse a district court's denial of a petition for postconviction relief "bears a heavy burden." State v. Cobell, 2004 MT 46, ¶ 14, 320 Mont. 122, 86 P.3d 20.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶5 Whether the District Court erred when it dismissed Mascarena's ...


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