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State v. Larson

State v. Larson, 2015 MT 271 (Sept. 15, 2015) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in denying Larson’s motion to suppress statements made in police custody; and (2) whether Larson’s counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to present the video recording of the police interview at the suppression hearing.

Short Answer: (1) No; and (2) no.

Affirmed

Facts: Susie Casey was found dead in the Yellowstone River in the spring of 2008, several weeks after her family reported her missing. An autopsy determined she had died of strangulation and then been put in the water.

Larson and Susie married in 1993. Susie filed for divorce in 1997, which became final in February 1998. Larson did not want the divorce, and had no contact with the children for several years after the marriage ended.…

State v. Bowen

State v. Bowen, 2015 MT 246 (Aug. 18, 2015) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court abused its discretion in allowing Nelson to testify as a witness at trial; and (2) whether the district court erred in denying Bowen’s motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence.

Short Answer: (1) No; and (2) no.

Affirmed

Facts: Montana Department of Transportation employees found Brian Doyle’s body Jan. 20, 2012, in a ditch along Hwy. 2. An investigation determined his death occurred the night of Jan. 11, 2012. The temperature that night was between -4 and -7 degrees, and Doyle was dressed in a short-sleeved t-shirt, a sleeveless undershirt, pajama pants under his jeans, and socks. Bowen was eventually identified as person of interest, and then a suspect.…

State v. King

State v. King, 2013 MT 139 (May 28, 2013) (5-0) (Wheat, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly excluded evidence of justifiable use of force as a defense to the charge of deliberate homicide, and (2) whether the district court’s exclusion of evidence of the victim’s mental health history violated King’s Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) no.

Affirmed

State v. Beach

State v. Beach, 2013 MT 130 (May 14, 2013) (4-3) (Rice, J., for the majority, joined by Baker, J. McKinnon, J. and Dist. Judge Richard Simonton; McKinnon, J. concurring separately; Morris, J., dissenting, joined by Wheat, J., and Cotter, J.)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in concluding that Beach was entitled to a new trial because he had demonstrated his actual innocence.

Short Answer: Yes.

Reversed

State v. Jay

State v. Jay, 2013 MT 79 (March 26, 2013) (5-0) (Rice, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in denying Jay’s challenge for cause; (2) whether the district court erred in excluding Jay’s expert witness; (3) whether the district court erred in denying Jay’s request to instruct on DUI as a lesser-included offense of Vehicular Homicide While Under the Influence; and (4) whether the district court erred in ordering Jay to pay restitution to the state, the victims, and the victims’ family members.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) no; (3) no; and (4) yes.

Affirmed issues 1-3 and reversed issue 4