State v. Osborn

State v. Osborn, 2015 MT 48 (Feb. 17, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether district court properly denied Osborn’s Rule 60(b) motion.

Short Answer: Yes.


Facts: Osborn was sentenced for several offenses to suspended sentences, running concurrently and consecutively. After a number of violations, the state petitioned to revoke his suspended sentence, and the district court granted the petition. Osborn sought review from the Sentence Review Division, which concluded the sentence was not clearly excessive.

Procedural Posture & Holding: Osborn moved for relief from the judgment under M.R. Civ. P. 60(b). The state argued the Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply in a criminal case, and the district court denied the motion. Osborn appeals, and the Supreme Court affirms. 

Reasoning: Criminal defendants seeking to challenge their sentences must follow the procedures established in the Montana Rules of Criminal Procedure, Title 46, MCA. Osborn could have challenged the legality of his sentence on direct appeal to this Court, but instead filed a Rule 60(b) motion in the district court. He did not perfect his appeal of his sentence in a timely fashion and is therefore precluded from challenging his sentence in this Court.