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Sharp v. State

Supreme Court of Montana

October 8, 2019

DARRELL DEAN SHARP, Petitioner and Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MONTANA, Respondent and Appellee.

          Submitted on Briefs: September 11, 2019

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Ninth Judicial District, In and For the County of Toole, Cause Nos. DC 09-010 and DC 09-032 Honorable Robert G. Olson, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Darrell D. Sharp, Self-represented, Deer Lodge, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Damon Martin, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana

          Merle Raph, Toole County Attorney, Shelby, Montana

          OPINION

          INGRID GUSTAFSON JUSTICE.

         ¶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 Petitioner and Appellant Darrell Dean Sharp (Sharp) appeals the Order Denying Motion to Reconsider Petition for Post-Conviction Relief issued by the Ninth Judicial District Court, Toole County, on December 12, 2018. We affirm because Sharp's petition is both untimely and procedurally barred.

         ¶3 On June 18, 2009, Sharp was charged by Information in cause number DC-09-010 with five felony counts stemming from an incident in which he attacked his estranged wife, Melany Shulman, and another man, Torval Jay Halvorson, at Halvorson's home, injuring both of them and causing property damage. The State later moved to amend the Information, and Sharp was ultimately charged by Amended Information on September 3, 2009, with six felony counts: Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Burglary, Assault on a Minor Child, Assault with a Weapon, and Criminal Endangerment. While being held in the Toole County detention facility on these charges, Sharp struck and bit a Toole County Sheriff's Deputy. For this incident, Sharp was charged in cause number DC-09-032 with a single felony count of Assault on a Peace Officer or Judicial Officer.

         ¶4 On June 1, 2010, Sharp and the State filed a signed Plea Agreement, along with a signed Acknowledgement of Waiver of Rights by Plea of Guilty. The terms of the Plea Agreement called for Sharp to plead guilty to Aggravated Assault and Criminal Endangerment in DC-09-010 and Assault on a Peace Officer or Judicial Officer in DC-09-032, in exchange for the State dismissing the remaining charges in DC-09-010. The Plea Agreement stated that the Defendant would concur with the recommendations made by the State, and that the State would recommend a sentence of 20 years at the Montana State Prison (MSP), with 10 suspended for Aggravated Assault; 10 years at MSP, with five suspended for Criminal Endangerment; and 10 years at MSP, with five suspended for Assault on a Peace Officer or Judicial Officer. The Plea Agreement called for each of these sentences to run consecutively, for a total of 40 years at MSP, with 20 suspended. The Plea Agreement further called for a 10-year parole eligibility restriction from the date of sentencing.

         ¶5 The District Court held a change of plea hearing on June 1, 2010, where Sharp pled guilty to Aggravated Assault, Criminal Endangerment, and Assault on a Peace Officer or Judicial Officer. On August 12, 2010, the District Court held a sentencing hearing, where it sentenced Sharp in accordance with the Plea Agreement to a total of 40 years at MSP, with 20 suspended, along with a 10-year parole eligibility restriction. The District Court entered its written judgment reflecting this sentence on August 27, 2010. Sharp did not appeal, but later filed a petition for postconviction relief, a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, and an application for sentence review. The District Court denied Sharp's petition for postconviction relief on February 14, 2011, and denied his motion to withdraw his guilty plea on February 15, 2011. Sharp did not appeal either order. The Sentence Review Division unanimously upheld Sharp's sentence in a written decision on May 31, 2011.

         ¶6 Since his sentencing, Sharp has filed numerous pleadings before the District Court, this Court, and in federal court, seeking to have his conviction overturned. On October 1, 2018, Sharp filed a Petition for Postconviction Relief, alleging that his plea was induced by threat of a persistent felony offender (PFO) designation, ineffective assistance of counsel, and actual innocence. On October 30, 2018, the District Court issued an order denying Sharp's petition as untimely. On November 7, 2018, Sharp filed a "Notice of Appeal & Motion to Reconsider" the District Court's denial of his petition. On December 12, 2018, the District Court issued its Order Denying Motion to Reconsider Petition for Post-Conviction Relief, which again found Sharp's petition to be untimely and also addressed Sharp's claim of newly discovered evidence, finding that Sharp presented no facts in the petition demonstrating that he did not engage in the criminal conduct for which he pled guilty.

         ¶7 Section 46-21-102, MCA, addresses the timeliness of postconviction petitions:

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a petition for the relief referred to in 46-21-101 may be filed at any time within 1 year of the date that the conviction becomes final. A ...

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