State Of Mont. v. Haagenson

Decision Date04 May 2010
Docket NumberNo. DA 09-0471.,DA 09-0471.
Citation232 P.3d 367,2010 MT 95,356 Mont. 177
PartiesSTATE of Montana, Plaintiff and Appellee,v.Jaydee HAAGENSON, Defendant and Appellant.
CourtMontana Supreme Court

For Appellant: Joslyn Hunt (argued), Chief Appellate Defender, Jim Wheelis, Assistant Appellate Defender, Helena, Montana.

For Appellee: Hon. Steve Bullock, Montana Attorney General, John Paulson (argued), Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana, John Parker, Cascade County Attorney, Joel Thompson, Deputy County Attorney, Great Falls, Montana.

Justice JAMES C. NELSON delivered the Opinion of the Court.

¶ 1 After a probation and parole officer revoked Jaydee Haagenson's parole, the Eighth Judicial District Court, Cascade County, revoked the suspended portion of his sentence as well. Haagenson appeals, alleging that this action violated his constitutional right against double jeopardy. We disagree and, thus, affirm.


¶ 2 In December 2006, the State filed an information charging Haagenson with two counts of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs (methamphetamine), a felony, in violation of § 45-9-101, MCA (2005). These offenses allegedly occurred in January and March of 2006. Haagenson and the State ultimately entered into a plea agreement, pursuant to which Haagenson pleaded guilty to one count of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs and the State recommended a specific sentence as to that count and dismissed the other count. On May 24, 2007, the District Court sentenced Haagenson to the Montana State Prison (MSP) for ten years, with seven years suspended (the sentence recommended by the State). The conditions on the suspended sentence required Haagenson to remain law-abiding and not to consume alcohol.

¶ 3 Haagenson was released from MSP in July 2007 to attend a drug treatment program in Lewistown. He then was transferred to the Great Falls Pre-Release Center in April 2008 and was granted parole in October 2008. His parole was subject to certain conditions, including that he remain law-abiding and that he not possess or use alcohol. The term of parole was set to expire on May 22, 2010, when Haagenson would begin serving the seven-year suspended portion of his sentence.

¶ 4 On or about May 6, 2009, Haagenson was taken into custody and charged with the deliberate homicide of Jerod Williams, who was choked to death at a residence in Great Falls. Haagenson was intoxicated at the time he allegedly killed Williams. A week later, James Clancy (Haagenson's probation and parole officer) and Eric Tadlock (Clancy's supervisor) held an “onsite hearing” at the Cascade County Detention Center. See § 46-23-1024, MCA. At the hearing, Tadlock found that there was probable cause to believe that Haagenson had violated the two aforementioned conditions on his parole by choking Williams to death and by consuming alcohol. Tadlock thus recommended to the Board of Pardons and Parole that Haagenson's parole be revoked, and Haagenson was incarcerated at MSP pending the Board's review of the matter.1

¶ 5 Meanwhile, on May 18, 2009, the State filed a petition to revoke Haagenson's suspended sentence-which, as noted, he had not yet begun to serve. See State v. Sullivan, 197 Mont. 395, 400-01, 642 P.2d 1008, 1010-11 (1982) (a suspension of sentence may be revoked for acts done by the offender after sentence is imposed but before he actually begins serving the suspended sentence); accord State v. Morrison, 2008 MT 16, 341 Mont. 147, 176 P.3d 1027. The State's petition was based on the same acts that had formed the basis for the revocation of his parole-i.e., the homicide and the use of alcohol. The District Court held a hearing on June 25, 2009, at which time Haagenson moved the court to dismiss the State's petition on the ground that he had already been sanctioned for these acts by having his parole revoked and being sent back to MSP. Relying on State v. Martinez, 2008 MT 233, 344 Mont. 394, 188 P.3d 1034, Haagenson argued that an offender cannot be twice sanctioned for the same acts-here, by first having his parole revoked and then having his suspended sentence revoked.

¶ 6 The District Court agreed with Haagenson that he had been “sanctioned” for the violations of his conditions of parole by virtue of the fact that his parole had effectively been revoked and he had sent back to MSP. Thus, the court framed the issue before it as

whether or not the State's administrative action through the Department of Corrections to technically or effectively revoke Mr. Haagenson's parole on the same allegations that form the basis of the State's petition to revoke his ensuing probation, preclude, as a matter of law, pursuant to State versus Martinez, the Court from-at this time, in effect, sanctioning Mr. Haagenson in the probation context on the same conduct.

The District Court answered this question in the negative. The court read Martinez as standing for the proposition that the State cannot administratively sanction an offender for a probation violation and also obtain a judicial sanction (in particular, revocation of the suspended sentence) for the very same conduct, as doing so would be “tantamount to a double jeopardy situation.” The court did not find this principle to be applicable here, however, as the State was not attempting a double-sanction for a probation violation. Rather, the court analogized the present situation to one in which a probationer commits an unlawful act and may be prosecuted, convicted, and punished for that act and, based on the very same act, may be subject to sanction for a probation violation as well. From this, the court reasoned that a sanction for a parole violation is distinct from a sanction for a probation violation, even though the two sanctions are based on the same acts.

¶ 7 The District Court concluded that the administrative revocation of Haagenson's parole did not preclude the otherwise valid revocation of his suspended sentence. Based on its finding, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Haagenson had violated the terms of probation by virtue of the homicide and his use of alcohol, the court revoked the seven-year suspended sentence and sentenced Haagenson to a seven-year term at MSP. The court noted that Haagenson's actions left it with “no confidence” that he can or should be supervised in the community. Haagenson now appeals.


¶ 8 Under the facts presented, an offender on parole (serving the un-suspended portion of his sentence) engaged in acts that violated not only the conditions of his release, but also the conditions of the suspended portion of his sentence. Haagenson does not dispute that the violations may be used for revocation of the offender's parole and for prosecution of a separate criminal charge as well (if the acts were criminal). He also does not dispute that a suspension of sentence may be revoked for acts done by the offender before he actually begins serving the suspended sentence. His claim, rather, is that the violative acts may not be used both to revoke the offender's parole and to revoke his suspended sentence, without infringing the prohibition against double jeopardy.


¶ 9 The issue of whether a district court has acted within its statutory authority in revoking a suspended sentence presents a question of law over which we exercise plenary review. State v. Martinez, 2008 MT 233, ¶ 16, 344 Mont. 394, 188 P.3d 1034. We also exercise plenary review over questions of constitutional law. Martinez, ¶ 16.


¶ 10 At the outset, it is necessary to dispel the notion, argued by the State, that the issue raised by Haagenson has already been decided in State v. LeDeau, 2009 MT 276, 352 Mont. 140, 215 P.3d 672. In LeDeau, the offender (LeDeau) argued that revoking both his parole and his ensuing suspended sentence based on the same conduct violated his constitutional right to be free from double jeopardy. However, LeDeau had not properly preserved this issue for appeal, and we accordingly had to decide whether to review his claim under the doctrine of plain error review. See LeDeau, ¶¶ 13-14. To obtain plain error review of an otherwise procedurally barred constitutional claim, an appellant must make a threshold showing that his claim meets any of the three criteria set out in State v. Finley, 276 Mont. 126, 137, 915 P.2d 208, 215 (1996). See State v. West, 2008 MT 338, ¶ 23, 346 Mont. 244, 194 P.3d 683; State v. Jackson, 2009 MT 427, ¶¶ 42, 48, 354 Mont. 63, 221 P.3d 1213. We ultimately concluded (albeit, implicitly) that LeDeau had not made this showing, and we therefore declined to decide his claim on the merits. See LeDeau, ¶ 18. Granted, in the course of reaching this conclusion, we recited a number of legal principles that bear on Haagenson's claim here. See LeDeau, ¶¶ 15-17. But nevertheless, it is self-evident that, by definition, when this Court declines to exercise plain error review of a claim, this Court does not decide the merits of that claim. LeDeau, therefore, is not controlling authority here.

¶ 11 By the same token, Haagenson's suggestion that Martinez and State v. Johnston, 2008 MT 318, 346 Mont. 93, 193 P.3d 925, dictate the outcome of this case is similarly mistaken. In Martinez, the offender (Martinez), who was serving a seven-year suspended sentence, violated the terms of his probation on numerous occasions. By statute, a probationer may be arrested for violating a condition of probation, § 46-23-1012(1), (2), MCA, and his probation and parole officer, in turn, must then elect one of three options: (1) authorize the detention center to release the probationer, (2) hold an intervention hearing pursuant to § 46-23-1015, MCA, or (3) arrange for the probationer to appear before a magistrate to set bail see § 46-23-1012(3), MCA. If the probationer is detained and bond is set, then the probation and parole officer must file a report of violation and the court may proceed thereafter with...

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