House Bill No. 257
Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act limiting defendants to one jury trial in misdemeanor criminal cases filed in a justice's or city court; requiring a defendant to elect the forum in which the jury trial will occur; providing that a trial de novo in the district court on appeal from a justice's or city court may not be by jury if the defendant elected a jury trial in the justice's or city court; amending sections 46-7-102, 46-17-201, and 46-17-311, MCA; and providing an immediate effective date and an applicability date."
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 46-7-102, MCA, is amended to read:
"46-7-102. Duty of court. (1) The judge shall inform the defendant:
(a) of the charge or charges against the defendant;
(b) of the defendant's right to counsel;
(c) of the defendant's right to have counsel assigned by a court of record in accordance with the provisions of 46-8-101;
(d) of the general circumstances under which the defendant may obtain pretrial release;
(e) of the defendant's right to refuse to make a statement and the fact that any statement made by the defendant may be
offered in evidence at the defendant's trial;
(f) of the defendant's right to a judicial determination of whether probable cause exists if the charge is made by a complaint alleging the commission of a felony; and
(g) if the charge is a misdemeanor filed in justice's or city court, of the defendant's right to elect one jury trial, either in justice's or city court or on appeal to the district court, as provided in 46-17-201.
(2) The judge shall admit the defendant to bail as provided by law."
Section 2. Section 46-17-201, MCA, is amended to read:
"46-17-201. Juries in misdemeanor cases. (1)
The Subject to subsection (3), the parties in a misdemeanor case are
entitled to a jury of six qualified persons but may agree to a number less than six at any time before the verdict.
(2) Upon consent of the parties, a trial by jury may be waived.
(3) A defendant in a misdemeanor case filed in justice's or city court is limited to one jury trial, either in justice's or city court or on appeal to the district court. The defendant shall either elect a jury trial in justice's or city court or reserve jury trial for the district court in the event of conviction and subsequent appeal to the district court. The defendant's election or reservation must be noted by the court on the face of the charging document."
Section 3. Section 46-17-311, MCA, is amended to read:
"46-17-311. Appeal from justices', municipal, and city courts. (1) Except for cases in which legal issues are preserved for appeal pursuant to 46-12-204, all cases on appeal from a justice's or city court must be tried anew in the district court and may be tried before a jury of six selected in the same manner as for other criminal cases if the defendant has not previously exercised the right of jury trial in a justice's or city court, as provided in 46-17-201. If the defendant received a jury trial in justice's or city court, the case must be tried anew in the district court without a jury. An appeal from a municipal court to the district court is governed by 3-6-110.
(2) The defendant may appeal to the district court by filing written notice of intention to appeal within 10 days after a
judgment is rendered following trial. In the case of an appeal by the prosecution, the notice must be filed within 10 days of
the date that the order complained of is given. The prosecution may
only appeal only in the cases provided for in
(3) Within 30 days of filing the notice of appeal, the court shall transfer the entire record of the court of limited jurisdiction to the district court."
NEW SECTION. Section 4. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
NEW SECTION. Section 5. Applicability. [This act] applies to criminal charges filed on or after [the effective date of this act].