Submitted on Briefs: March 13, 2019.
FROM: District Court of the Nineteenth Judicial District, In
and For the County of Lincoln, Cause No. DC 16-51 Honorable
Matthew Cuffe, Presiding Judge.
Appellant: Laura Reed, Attorney at Law, Missoula, Montana
Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Katie F.
Schulz, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana
Boris, Lincoln County Attorney, Jeffrey Zwang, Deputy County
Attorney, Libby, Montana
Brian Thomas Norvell (Norvell) appeals his conviction of
aggravated assault, in violation of § 45-5-202, MCA,
upon his no contest plea, in the Nineteenth Judicial District
Court, Lincoln County. We reverse and remand for dismissal
We consider the following issue:
Did the District Court err by denying Norvell's
motion to dismiss for unnecessary delay between his arrest
and initial appearance?
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
As alleged, on May 9, 2016, Norvell struck a cyclist with his
car while driving on a highway near Libby, Montana. Norvell
initially fled, but soon returned to the collision scene in a
different car while law enforcement was investigating.
Norvell approached United States Border Patrol Agent Luis
Granado (Granado), who was the first law enforcement officer
to arrive on the scene, said "I am the one that nailed
him," and asked Granado to "give his best regards
to the cyclist's family." Norvell handed Granado a
wallet, which was later identified as the victim's.
Granado observed that Norvell was "pretty worked
up" and "breathing heavy." Norvell indicated
he was going to leave the scene, so Granado had Norvell wait
in a law enforcement vehicle until additional law enforcement
Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Anthony Jenson (Jenson)
responded to the scene and took over the investigation.
Jenson made contact with Norvell, who refused to answer
questions. Jenson observed that Norvell's eyes were red,
bloodshot, and watery. Because Norvell was detained in a law
enforcement vehicle, Jenson advised Norvell of his Miranda
rights. Jenson then continued investigating, including
speaking to a witness and documenting the scene.
Jenson learned that Norvell was on probation for a prior
felony offense in Idaho. Jenson contacted Norvell's
probation officer, Darrell Vanderhoef (Vanderhoef), who
advised Jenson that Norvell had violated his probation by
operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and
fleeing the scene of a crash involving injury. Vanderhoef
verbally authorized Jenson to arrest Norvell, so Jenson took
Norvell into custody for violation of probation and
transported him to the Lincoln County Detention Center
The next day, May 10, Vanderhoef filed an authorization to
pick up and hold Norvell with the Detention Center, and met
with Norvell there. Norvell told Vanderhoef that he had
driven his vehicle someplace into the woods between the crash
scene and the Koocanusa Bridge. Law enforcement located
Norvell's vehicle near that location several hours later,
although the ...