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Eva v. State

Supreme Court of Montana

October 8, 2019

RAYMOND EVA, Petitioner,
STATE OF MONTANA, and LYNN GUYER, Warden, Montana State Prison, Respondents.


         Raymond Eva has filed a verified petition for a writ of habeas corpus, asserting denial of constitutional rights because the Butte-Silver Bow County District Court was without jurisdiction to convict and sentence him. Eva requests his immediate release "from incarceration that is the result of [an] illegal conviction and sentence, that was the result of a VOID [judgment]."

         Eva is serving a prison sentence for the 2004 convictions of two counts each of sexual intercourse without consent and sexual assault. Eva did not appeal.

         Eva has, however, sought various forms of relief with this Court. In 2006, Eva filed a motion to vacate sentence and for release from custody. He requested release "so that he can 'turn over evidence to this court.'" Eva v. State, No. OP 06-0416, Order, at 1 (Mont. Jul. 5, 2006) (Eva I). This Court denied the motion. Eva I, at 1. In 2007, he filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, "alleging various infirmities with his sentence, the process he received before entering his plea of guilty and before sentencing and the State's alleged withholding of evidence." Eva v. State, No. OP 07-0210, Order, at 1 (Mont. Apr. 4, 2007) (Eva II). We determined that all his claims lacked merit and denied his petition. Eva II, at 1-3.

         Eva discharged his prison term on September 13, 2013, and he began serving the suspended portion of his sentence. On December 7, 2015, Eva's Probation and Parole Officer filed a Report of Violation alleging that Eva had violated his probationary terms, and eight days later, the State of Montana filed a Petition to Revoke Eva's suspended sentence. Eva admitted to all but one of the violations at his May 2016 answer hearing The District Court revoked his suspended sentence and imposed four, concurrent twenty-year terms to the Montana State Prison (hereinafter 2016 sentence upon revocation). Eva sought postconviction relief, and the District Court denied his petition because it lacked merit. Eva appealed, and this Court affirmed the District Court's denial in 2018. Eva v. State, No. DA 17-0187, 2018 MT UN, 2018 Mont. LEXIS 10 (Jan. 16, 2018)(Eva III).

         Eva filed petitions for habeas corpus relief during his appeal and immediately thereafter. We dismissed his petition for a writ of habeas corpus while his appeal was pending. Eva v. O 'Fallon, No. OP 17-0418, Order (Mont. Aug. 1, 2017) (Eva IV). Eva returned and requested credit for time while on probation. We denied his petition because the District Court properly denied him any street time credit. Eva v. O'Fallon, No. OP 18-0141, Order, at 2-3 (Mont. Mar. 20, 2018) (Eva V).

         Most recently, in August 2019, Eva filed another petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging that his judgment and sentence are void and illegal because the District Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction on the basis that Eva was not indicted by a grand jury. We denied his petition. Eva v. Guyer, No. OP 19-0475, Order, at 3 (Mont. Aug. 27, 2019)(Eva VI).

         Now Eva asserts that his conviction and sentence are illegal and that he suffers from illegal incarceration. He states that because the Judge presided over the accusatory phase, the filing of the information, and his sentencing, the Judge must have recused himself. He contends that the District Court lacks jurisdiction. He states that "[b]eing accused does not mean guilty, per our rights." He lastly points out that his right to seek this relief via habeas corpus is guaranteed.

         This Court has heard Eva's arguments before, and they still lack merit. While Eva is correct that a writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, the writ should not be abused. Mont. Const, art. II, § 19. More than twelve years ago, we informed him that his claims regarding his plea of guilty and sentence lacked merit. Eva II, at 3. We have reminded Eva that he pleaded guilty to the offenses after being accused, thereby waiving many nonjurisdictional claims. Eva II, Eva IV, Eva V, and Eva VI. We recently have told Eva that the "District Court had subject matter jurisdiction, and Eva's judgment is not void." Eva VI, at 3. We have told him that he is not entitled to release based on his arguments. Eva I and Eva VI Eva has been accused, convicted, and resentenced. Pursuant to Montana law, Eva cannot challenge his 2016 sentence upon revocation. Section 46-22-101(2), MCA. He cannot demonstrate illegal incarceration. Eva V, Eva VI, and § 46-22-101(1), MCA. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Eva's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus is DENIED and DISMISSED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that henceforth, prior to filing any original petition with this Court, challenging his 2004 conviction or 2016 sentence upon revocation, Eva is directed to file a motion for leave to file the petition. The motion for leave must be sworn under oath, not exceed three pages in length, and make a preliminary showing that the petition has merit and meets the criteria to state a prima facie case under M. R. App. P. 14(5). Only when this Court has reviewed the motion and issued an order granting leave to file may the Clerk of this Court file the petition. Any other original petition Eva seeks to file shall be rejected and the Clerk shall inform Eva accordingly.

         The Clerk is directed to provide a copy of this Order to counsel of record and to Raymond Eva ...

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