_________ Bill No. _______

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act providing that sentencing of a person who pleads guilty may be by two-way electronic audio-video communication; amending section 46-18-102, MCA; and providing an applicability date."

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 46-18-102, MCA, is amended to read:

"46-18-102.   Rendering judgment and pronouncing sentence. (1) The judgment shall must be rendered in open court.

(2)  If the verdict or finding is not guilty, judgment shall must be rendered immediately and the defendant shall must be discharged from custody or from the obligation of his the defendant's bail bond.

(3)  (a) If the verdict or finding is guilty, sentence shall must be pronounced and judgment rendered within a reasonable time. If the defendant pleaded guilty, the sentence may be pronounced and judgment may be rendered by the use of two-way electronic audio-video communication, and the sentence and judgment are considered to be rendered in open court. The sentencing hearing under 46-18-115 is not part of the pronouncement of sentence and rendering of judgment under this subsection and may not be held by two-way electronic audio-video communication.

(b)  When the sentence is pronounced, the judge shall clearly state for the record his the reasons for imposing the sentence."

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Applicability. [This act] applies to pleas, judgments, and sentences entered after [the effective date of this act].