State v. Jackson, DA 06-0195.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana
Citation221 P.3d 1213,2009 MT 427
Docket NumberNo. DA 06-0195.,DA 06-0195.
PartiesSTATE of Montana, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. Laurence Dean JACKSON, Jr., Defendant and Appellant.
Decision Date15 December 2009
221 P.3d 1213
2009 MT 427
STATE of Montana, Plaintiff and Appellee,
Laurence Dean JACKSON, Jr., Defendant and Appellant.
No. DA 06-0195.
Supreme Court of Montana.
Submitted on Briefs May 20, 2009.
Decided December 15, 2009.

[221 P.3d 1216]

For Appellant: Robert M. Peterson; Peterson Law Office; Havre, Montana, Jeffrey T. Renz; Clinical Professor of Law, University of Montana; Missoula, Montana.

For Appellee: Hon. Steve Bullock, Montana Attorney General; Jonathan M. Krauss, Assistant Attorney General; Helena, Montana, Don Ranstrum; Blaine County Attorney; Chinook, Montana.

Justice JIM RICE delivered the Opinion of the Court.

¶ 1 On the night of May 29, 2003, a sheriff's deputy pursued Laurence Dean Jackson, Jr., on foot through a dark field near Harlem, Montana. A second deputy joined the pursuit and, after a struggle with Jackson, one deputy was left dead and the other wounded from gunshots. The State charged Jackson with deliberate homicide and attempted deliberate homicide of the deputies, and sought the death penalty for the deliberate homicide charge. In November of 2004, a Missoula County jury found Jackson guilty of both counts. The District Court sentenced Jackson to life imprisonment without parole on both counts, and one hundred years without parole as a persistent felony offender. Jackson appeals his convictions and presents the following issues:

¶ 2 1. Was there sufficient evidence to support Jackson's convictions of deliberate and attempted deliberate homicide?

¶ 3 2. Was Jackson's right to due process violated by the State's presentation of DNA evidence at trial?

¶ 4 3. Did the District Court err by denying Jackson's motion for a new trial based upon the State's alleged withholding of exculpatory information in violation of Jackson's right to due process?

¶ 5 4. Did the District Court abuse its discretion by authorizing the use of a non-visible leg restraint during trial?

¶ 6 5. Did the District Court abuse its discretion by denying Jackson's request to show a witness a scar on his abdomen at trial?

¶ 7 6. Did the District Court abuse its discretion by permitting the State to offer expert testimony in rebuttal to matters raised by the Defense for the first time at trial?


¶ 8 After dark on May 29, 2003, two Blaine County Sheriff's deputies, Deputy Joshua Rutherford and Deputy Loren Janis, entered a field in Harlem, Montana, in pursuit of Jackson. Within several minutes, both deputies had been shot. Deputy Rutherford died quickly from a gunshot wound to the chest, and Deputy Janis stumbled out of the field with a gunshot wound to his forearm and a shrapnel head wound. Due to an alleged alcoholic blackout, Jackson was unable to recount the events, leaving Janis as the sole witness testifying as to what occurred.

¶ 9 Earlier that day, Jackson began drinking alcohol and continued to drink into the evening hours, becoming increasingly aggressive. While riding in his cousin Cassandra

221 P.3d 1217

Jackson's vehicle, Jackson demanded she return him to Harlem. When she would not, Jackson began kicking the back of the front passenger seat, and threw an unfinished beer at Cassandra's forehead, causing injury. Jackson also began fighting in the back seat with another passenger, William "Sprout" Gone. Jackson punched Gone, and bit his finger, nose, and ear, leaving blood, a fingernail and pieces of Gone's flesh in the back seat. Cassandra and another passenger pulled Jackson off of Gone and out of the car, leaving him shoeless on the side of the road. Jackson eventually made his way back to nearby Harlem, to the trailer home of his girlfriend, Mari Blackbird. When Blackbird returned home that night with her mother and children, she discovered Jackson inside. Drunk and bloodied, Jackson had trashed the trailer home and barred the door, refusing to let Blackbird inside. Blackbird called the police, complaining that Jackson had ransacked her trailer and locked her out. When Jackson heard Blackbird calling the police, he ran out the back door and fled across a neighbor's yard. Jackson returned, however, and hid in nearby bushes.

¶ 10 When the Blaine County Sheriff's Office received Blackbird's call, Janis, the on-duty deputy, was in Chinook, a nearby town. Janis asked the dispatcher to notify Deputy Rutherford of the incident. Deputy Rutherford was off duty, but resided in Harlem and was closer to Blackbird. Janis then left Chinook, driving towards Harlem at a high rate of speed. Deputy Rutherford arrived at the scene first and Blackbird's mother pointed to the bushes and told him, "He's over there. He's hiding in the bushes.... It's Larry Jackson." Jackson started running, and Deputy Rutherford gave chase, pursuing Jackson on foot through an open field, across an irrigation ditch, across U.S. Highway 2, and into a grassy field on the southern side of the highway. Witnesses heard Deputy Rutherford issue various commands to Jackson, saying: "[S]top, don't do this, it's not worth it," "Get down. Please don't do this," "[P]lease stop, please don't do this," "[J]ust stay down, just stay down, don't make it harder on yourself, Larry," and "Stop. Get down. I'm a deputy."

¶ 11 Deputy Rutherford ultimately caught Jackson and the two struggled. During the tussle, Deputy Rutherford lost his Blaine County Sheriff's ball cap, and Jackson lost his bloody shirt. Jackson was also able to wrest Deputy Rutherford's flashlight from him. While Deputy Rutherford was struggling with Jackson, Deputy Janis arrived at Blackbird's residence. Blackbird's neighbors, Fred and Debbie Green, informed Janis that Deputy Rutherford and Jackson had run past the irrigation ditch and across the highway. Janis proceeded in their direction on Highway 2 until he heard yelling and saw the beam of a flashlight in the dark field, which he assumed was Deputy Rutherford. It was not. Janis left his vehicle and proceeded into the field toward the light.

¶ 12 As Janis neared the fenced corner of a power substation located in the field, Deputy Rutherford emerged from the darkness, exhausted, winded, and breathing heavily. Janis was startled, and realized that Jackson had the deputy's flashlight and was approaching them. Jackson emerged from the dark, raised his arms and yelled, "well arrest me then"! As Jackson approached, Deputy Rutherford told Janis to spray Jackson with OC pepper spray, and Janis did so. The OC pepper spray did not appear to have its intended effect, as Jackson wiped the spray off his face, turned and started to walk away. Janis dropped the spray canister, and pulled out his asp, a steel club. He ordered Jackson to get down on the ground. Jackson didn't comply, and continued walking away. Janis struck Jackson with the asp, first in the thigh, and then in the knee, buckling Jackson to the ground. Both deputies then rushed Jackson. Deputy Rutherford was able to place an arm hold on Jackson on the ground, while Janis struck Jackson again in the shin, ordering him to comply. However, Deputy Rutherford soon lost his grip on the struggling Jackson, and Jackson bit Deputy Rutherford twice on the shoulder. Intending to further strike Jackson with his asp, Janis then heard gunshots he later described as "boom, baboom," and was thrown backwards. Deputy Rutherford cried out, "Loren, I've been shot, I've been shot by the heart." Janis realized he had been shot in his left arm, and felt a slight burn on his face.

221 P.3d 1218

¶ 13 Jackson retreated from the deputies and Janis saw that Jackson was holding Deputy Rutherford's gun as he walked away. Janis then heard more gunshots and saw muzzle flashes in the dark coming from the retreating Jackson. Janis backed up in an effort to draw Jackson's fire away from Deputy Rutherford and returned fire, discharging five rounds toward Jackson. Janis saw Jackson drop to the ground, and he believed he had hit Jackson. Janis headed to his patrol car to call for help, passing Jackson en route.

¶ 14 At the patrol car, Janis radioed dispatch for an ambulance and backup, exclaiming "officer down, officer hit." Blackbird's neighbors, the Greens, caught up to Janis, and Janis said to Green, "Oh, Christ, Fred, Josh is hit, he's down." Green and Janis then looked up to see Jackson emerging from the field. Jackson approached the car in an awkward manner, causing Janis to be fearful of an attack. Janis was able to reload his gun, and testified that he yelled at Jackson, "Get down on the ground.... You shot F-ing Josh and you shot F-ing me. Get down on the ground or I'm going to kill you." While giving commands, Janis mentally designated a line on the ground at which he determined to shoot and kill Jackson if he crossed it. Yelling that he didn't have a gun, Jackson flopped on the ground and took his pants off to show that he no longer had Deputy Rutherford's gun. Jackson shouted obscenities back to Janis, screaming "Go ahead and fucking shoot me. I don't care. I'm not going back to prison." Eventually backup arrived, and Jackson was taken into custody. Responding paramedics determined that Deputy Rutherford was dead at the scene. While being checked by the paramedics, Jackson responded that he was "okay," and that he had "brought this on myself."

¶ 15 The State charged Jackson with deliberate homicide of Deputy Rutherford and attempted deliberate homicide of Janis. The State gave notice of its intention to seek the death penalty for the deliberate homicide and to treat Jackson as a persistent felony offender. Jackson was represented by two attorneys, Havre attorney Robert Peterson and Helena attorney Edmund Sheehy. The District Court changed the venue for the trial to Missoula County. The parties engaged in extensive discovery, including DNA testing of more than forty samples of blood and other materials taken from the scene. Upon Jackson's petition, the District Court approved defense costs for DNA analysis and a DNA trial expert.

¶ 16 The jury trial began in Missoula...

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