Nicole raises two issues on appeal, both of which relate to her sentence:
1. Is the condition requiring her to continue being responsible for the victim’s counseling, treatment, or therapy costs illegal?We reverse and remand as to Issue 1, and affirm as to Issue 2.
2. Is the restriction on contact with her husband illegal and unreasonable?
BACKGROUNDThe circumstances surrounding Nicole’s convictions and sentence are intertwined with the crimes of her husband, Douglas, who was convicted of five counts of sexual misconduct against his daughter, Sarah, during the years 1992 to 2006. We affirmed those convictions in State v. Douglas Guill, 2010 MT 69, 355 Mont. 490, 228 P.3d 1152. Douglas and his previous wife, Candace, have also been to this Court in a prior appeal concerning their divorce. Douglas Guill v. Candace Guill, 2008 MT 279N. As we noted in that decision, this is factually one of the more bizarre cases to reach this Court.
The Honorable Deborah Kim Christopher presided over both Douglas’s criminal trial and Nicole’s criminal trial. After hearing extensive testimony regarding Nicole’s mental health and the history of the relationships in the Guill family, Judge Christopher determined that it was necessary and appropriate to restrict contact between Nicole and Douglas as part of Nicole’s sentence. Specifically, the judge ordered Nicole not to have any contact with Douglas of any sort (even through intermediaries), with one exception: if Nicole’s therapist determines that limited contact for therapeutic purposes would benefit Nicole’s rehabilitation. In imposing this restriction, Judge Christopher cited Nicole’s unhealthy bond with Douglas and the degree of control that he exerted over family members. To fully understand this power dynamic and the extent of Nicole’s devotion to Douglas, it is necessary to describe the relationships in some detail.
Judge(s): James C. Nelson
Jurisdiction: Montana Supreme Court
|Supreme Court Judge(s)|
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Appellant Lawyer(s)||Appellant Law Firm(s)|
|Colin Stephens||Smith & Stephens PC|
|Appellee Lawyer(s)||Appellee Law Firm(s)|
|Steve Bullock||Office of the Montana Attorney General|
|Daniel Guzynski||Office of the Montana Attorney General|
|Jonathan Krauss||Office of the Montana Attorney General|
|Colleen Magera||Office of the Sanders County Attorney|