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State v. Colvin

State v. Colvin, 2016 MT 129 (May 31, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (4-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in dismissing the charge against Colvin based on his claim that the state failed to preserve exculpatory evidence.

Short Answer: No.

Affirmed

Facts: The state charged Colvin with attempted deliberate homicide in the September 4, 2014 shooting of Michael Aja. At the time of the incident, Aja was sitting his Jeep. Colvin claimed he was holding the pistol inside the driver’s side window when it accidentally fired and hit Aja.

On the day of the shooting, law enforcement seized and impounded Aja’s Jeep. As the case developed, the position of the pistol and its distance from the victim because important issues.…

State v. Root

State v. Root, 2015 MT 310 (Oct. 27, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.; Cotter, J., dissenting) (4-3, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether Root’s attorney was ineffective for not requesting an accomplice instruction; and (2) whether the district court erred in denying Root’s motion to dismiss based on the prosecution’s failure to disclose a video statement of a witness.

Short Answer: (1) No; and (2) no, with Justices Cotter, McKinnon, and Shea dissenting on (2).

Affirmed

Facts: Lawrence Lee was stabbed in the arm and neck while in his pickup truck with Root and juvenile S.R. Lee and S.R. testified that Root stabbed Lee, after which S.R. jumped out of the truck and Lee pushed Root out of the truck. S.R. testified that after Lee left, S.R.…