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Braulick v. State

Supreme Court of Montana

October 1, 2019

JEREMY JOHN BRAULICK, Petitioner and Appellant,
STATE OF MONTANA, Respondent and Appellee.

          Submitted on Briefs: July 31, 2019

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Sixth Judicial District, In and For the County of Park, Cause No. DV 16-118 Honorable Brenda R. Gilbert, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Jeremy John Braulick, Self-represented, Deer Lodge, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Tammy K Plubell, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana Kendra Lassiter, Park County Attorney, Livingston, Montana


          Jim Rice Justice

         Â¶1 Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and Montana Reports.

         ¶2 Appellant Jeremy John Braulick (Braulick) appeals the denial of his petition for postconviction relief by the Sixth Judicial District Court, Park County. We affirm.

         ¶3 In December of 2011, Braulick brutally attacked his Mother and Stepfather in their home, where he was temporarily staying, by hitting, choking, and stabbing them multiple times with a knife. State v. Braulick, 2015 MT 147, ¶¶ 3-6, 379 Mont. 302, 293 P.3d 508. The victims, who somehow survived the attacks, testified at trial. Braulick was convicted of two counts of attempted deliberate homicide and was sentenced to 90 years in Montana State Prison. Braulick, ¶ 12.

         ¶4 On appeal, this Court affirmed Braulick's convictions. Braulick, ¶ 26. Braulick filed a postconviction petition stating fifteen grounds for relief under three general claims, including ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, and cruel and unusual punishment arising from the manner of his detention pending trial. The District Court addressed each ground for relief and denied and dismissed the petition, concluding in part that Braulick's ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct claims were procedurally barred under § 46-21-105, MCA, because the claims should have been brought by Braulick in his direct appeal. The District Court reasoned that Braulick's cruel and unusual punishment claim was a separate matter and not appropriately raised in a postconviction relief proceeding. Braulick appeals, challenging the District Court's determination that his claims were procedurally barred or inappropriately raised.

         ¶5 This Court reviews a district court's denial of a petition for postconviction relief to determine whether its factual findings are clearly erroneous and whether its legal conclusions are correct. Rose v. State, 2013 MT 161, ¶ 15, 370 Mont. 398, 304 P.3d 387 (citing Rukes v. State, 2013 MT 56, ¶ 8, 369 Mont. 215, 297 P.3d 1195). Ineffective assistance of counsel claims are mixed questions of law and fact which we review de novo. Rose, ¶ 15 (citing Miller v. State, 2012 MT 131, ¶ 9, 365 Mont. 264, 280 P.3d 272).

         ¶6 In a postconviction proceeding, a criminal defendant may raise issues relating to his conviction or sentence if he had "no adequate remedy of appeal." Section 46-21-101(1), MCA. Accordingly, § 46-21-105, MCA, provides:

(2) When a petitioner has been afforded the opportunity for a direct appeal of the petitioner's conviction, grounds for relief that were or could reasonably have been raised on direct appeal may not be raised, considered, or decided in a [postconviction relief proceeding]. . . .
(3) For purposes of this section, "grounds for relief" includes all legal and factual issues that were or could have been raised in support of petitioner's claim for relief.

         Ineffective assistance of counsel claims will be reviewed on direct appeal from conviction "when the record is sufficient for review." State v. Baker, 2013 MT 113, ¶ 42, 370 Mont. 43, 300 P.3d 696. However, when the face of the record does not reveal "why" counsel took a particular course of action, the matter is appropriately raised in postconviction proceedings. Baker, ¶ 42 (citing State v. Briscoe, 2012 MT 152, ¶ 10, 365 Mont. 383, 282 P.3d 657). Courts determine whether counsel was ineffective by application of the two-part test adopted by the United States Supreme Court in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052 (1984). Whitlow v. State, 2008 MT 140, ¶ 10, 343 Mont. 90, 183 P.3d 861. Under the Strickland test, the defendant must prove "(1) that counsel's performance was deficient, and (2) that counsel's deficient performance prejudiced the defense." Whitlow, ...

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