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Lout v. State

Supreme Court of Montana

December 3, 2019

JEFFERY J. LOUT, Petitioner and Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MONTANA, Respondent and Appellee.

          Submitted on Briefs: November 6, 2019

          District Court of the Twenty-First Judicial District, In and For the County of Ravalli, Cause Nos. DC 99-22, DC 02-79 Honorable Jeffrey H. Langton, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Jeffery J. Lout, Self-represented, Deer Lodge, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Micheal S. Wellenstein, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana William Fulbright, Ravalli County Attorney, Hamilton, Montana

          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 Jeffery J. Lout (Lout) appeals the orders denying his motions to dismiss issued by the Twenty-First Judicial District Court, Ravalli County, on July 19, 2018. We affirm because Lout's request for relief is both untimely and procedurally barred.

         ¶3 In DC 99-22, after pleading guilty to two counts of criminal sale of dangerous drugs, Lout was sentenced to a total prison term of 40 years, with 30 suspended. He did not appeal his conviction or sentence. In DC 02-79, after entering guilty pleas pursuant to a plea agreement, Lout was sentenced to two concurrent life prison terms for sexual offenses. Lout did not file a direct appeal in DC 02-79, but instead sought postconviction relief (PCR).[1] In April 2004, the District Court denied Lout PCR and this Court affirmed that denial in 2005. See Lout v. State, 2005 MT 93, 326 Mont. 485, 111 P.3d 199. In 2008, the District Court denied Lout's motion to withdraw his guilty pleas in DC 02-79. In 2018, Lout filed a motion entitled "Motion to Dismiss and Exonerate For the Unlawful Conviction and Illegal Incarceration For States Failure to comply with Legislative Intent of the State Law Statutes" in both DC 99-22 and DC 02-79. As the allegations therein collaterally attacked his convictions and sentences, the District Court appropriately treated the motions as petitions for PCR. The District Court then denied the motions concluding they were procedurally barred. Lout appeals from these denials.

         ¶4 The State argues Lout's petitions, filed in 2018, are untimely. Section 46-21-102, MCA, addresses the timeliness of PCR 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 conviction becomes final for purposes of this chapter when:
(a) the time for appeal to the Montana supreme court expires;
(2) A claim that alleges the existence of newly discovered evidence that, if proved and viewed in light of the evidence as a whole would establish that the petitioner did not engage in the criminal conduct for which the petitioner was convicted, may be raised in a petition filed within 1 year of the date on which the conviction becomes final or the date on which the petitioner discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, the existence of the evidence, whichever is later.

         An appeal must be taken within sixty days of entry of final judgment in a criminal case. M. R. App. P. 4(5)(b)(i). Because Lout did not appeal, his convictions became final when the time for appeal to this Court expired. Section 46-21-102(1)(a), MCA.

         ¶5 In DC 99-22, the District Court entered its written judgment on November 9, 1999-thus, Lout's time for filing a direct appeal expired on January 10, 2000. In DC 02-79, the District Court entered its written judgment on April 14, 2003-thus, Lout's time for filing a direct appeal expired on June 13, 2003. Pursuant to § 46-21-102(1), MCA, Lout had until January 10, 2001, in DC 99-22 and until June 14, 2004, in DC 02-79 to file petitions for PCR. Lout did not file his ...


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