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Blake v. Montana Thirteenth Judicial District Court

Supreme Court of Montana

September 10, 2019

RED LEWIS BLAKE, Petitioner,
v.
MONTANA THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, YELLOWSTONE COUNTY, HON. MARY JANE KNISELY, Presiding, Respondents.

          ORDER

         Fred Lewis Blake appears on his own behalf and has filed an unverified "Motion for Supervisory Control," seeking amendment of his criminal judgment to allow him contact with his common law wife. On May 21, 2018, Blake pleaded guilty to misdemeanor partner or family member assault (PFMA). His common law wife was the victim. Blake explains that both he and his wife have tried "to get all the restrictions removed," but to no avail. Blake provides that he has a terminal illness; he was not aware of a "no contact" Order until recently; and that he and his wife "still are visiting each other here at the Montana State Prison." He explains that the Thirteenth Judicial District Court stated at his May 21, 2018 change of plea hearing, "upon motion from the Defense, and hearing no objections from the State, the Court modifies the Release Order to allow no unreasonable contact with the victim[.]" Blake argues that the Court's statements should appear in a written order, but that no written Order with that specific condition exists.

         We observe that while Blake served the Clerk of District Court with a copy of his motion, he did not serve the presiding Judge. M. R. App. P. 14(6).

         As Blake stated in his petition and, which we have confirmed through available electronic records, the Yellowstone County District Court accepted his guilty pleas to misdemeanor PFMA and felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs on May 21, 2018, and in July, sentenced Blake to a suspended one-year term in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility and a concurrent five-year term to the Department of Corrections (DOC) with three years suspended. Blake has not yet discharged to the suspended portion of his sentence. A condition of the Judgment provides:

22. The Defendant shall not knowingly have any contact, oral, written, electronic or through a third party, with the victim(s) unless such contact is voluntarily initiated by the victim(s) through the Department of Corrections. DOC staff may notify victims about the availability of opportunities for facilitated contact with their offenders without being considered "third parties."

         Judgment, at 4 (Mont. Thirteenth Judicial Dist. Ct. Jul. 6, 2018).

         The May 21, 2018 Release Order, entered during the pendency of the trial proceeding and pertaining only to bail and conditions of release, provides that Blake is released and "[s]hall avoid any and all contact with the alleged victim(s) of the crime(s) and their families." Next to this condition, are handwritten notes, presumably from the presiding judge, that "no unreas contact may not discuss the case." Copies of the May 21, 2018 minute entry provide: "Upon motion from the defense, and hearing no objection from the State, the [c]ourt modifies the Release Order to allow no unreasonable contact with the victim." This Court has also secured a copy of the court's docket sheet and observe that Blake has filed several motions with the District Court asking that he be allowed ‡o have contact with the victim.

         Blake's final judgment defines the contact he may have with the victim, not the Release Order governing his bail conditions. As the Judgment provides, any contact is to be through the DOC - which will continue to be a condition once Blake is under DOC supervision on probation. Indeed, Blake has been able to visit with his wife while incarcerated. Following his custodial discharge, Blake will begin his three-year suspended sentence and remain under DOC's supervision. Pursuant to his sentencing condition #22, his wife may initiate facilitated contact with Blake through the DOC.

         This Court may exercise its supervisory power over all other courts on a case-by-case basis. M. R. App. P. 14(3). Supervisory control is an extraordinary remedy.

This extraordinary remedy can be invoked when the case involves purely legal questions and urgent or emergency factors make the normal appeal process inadequate. M. R. App. P. 14(3);.... The case must meet one . .. additional criteria: (a) the other court is proceeding under a mistake of law and is causing a gross injustice; [or] (b) constitutional issues of state-wide importance are involved[.] M. R. App. P. 14(3)(a)-(b).

State v. Spady, 2015 MT 218, ¶ 11, 3 80 Mont. 179, 354 P.3d 590 (internal citation omitted). Supervisory control does not apply here. Blake remains incarcerated and continues to have contact with his wife. Blake has a final judgment that controls here. Blake did not appeal, and he is now time-barred to file an appeal or a petition for postconviction relief in the District Court. M. R. App. P. 4(5)(b)(i); § 46-21-102(1)(a), MCA. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Blake's Motion for Supervisory Control is DENIED.

         The Clerk of the Supreme Court is directed to provide a copy of this Order to the Honorable Mary Jane Knisely, Thirteenth Judicial District Court, Yellowstone County, along with a copy of his motion; to Terry Halpin, Clerk of District Court, Yellowstone County; to counsel of record; to Colleen Ambrose, DOC Legal Counsel; ...


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