|Woirhaye v. District Court|
|Richard Quinton Woirhaye v. Montana Fourth Judicial District Court, Missoula County the Honorable Judge Henson, No. 98-223, 1998 MT 320|
Woirhaye had a jury trial before the Missoula Justice Court which was appealed trial de novo to the District Court. The District Court denied him a jury trial pursuant to §46-17-201(3) MCA. 46-17-201(3), MCA, provides: "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."
Woirhaye sought a writ of supervisory control against the District Courts decision because §46-17-201(3) MCA violated his constitutional right under Montana Constitution Article II, Section 24 & 26. Article II, Section 24 sets forth the rights of the criminally accused: "In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to ... a speedy public trial by an impartial jury." and Article II, Section 26 states: "[t]he right of trial by jury is secured to all and shall remain inviolate," and further provides that "[i]n all criminal actions, the verdict shall be unanimous."
The Supreme Court found that §46-17-201(3) MCA was unconstitutional because it inpinges upon rights guaranteed by the Montana Constitution and therefore was stricken from the law.