State v. RSA, 2015 MT 202 (July 21, 2015) (Cotter, J.) (5-0, aff’d)
Issue: (1) Whether RSA was subject to pretrial punishment in violation of his due process rights when the district court held a critical stage hearing at which RSA was not present; (2) whether sufficient evidence supports RSA’s conviction of felony robbery; and (3) whether the district court erred in ruling that RSA’s affirmative defense of justifiable use of force required RSA to testify at trial.
Short Answer: (1) No; (2) yes; and (3) no.
Facts: RSA has a lengthy documented history of mental health issues, substantive abuse, and institutionalization. He has a juvenile record as well as an adult criminal history.
In September 2011, RSA stole a tool set from an Ace Hardware store.…