November 30 2010
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
2010 MT 247
STATE OF MONTANA,
Plaintiff and Appellee,
FRED ALSTINE GOODENOUGH,
Defendant and Appellant.
District Court of the Nineteenth Judicial District,
In and For the County of Lincoln, Cause No. DC 08-15
Honorable Michael C. Prezeau, Presiding Judge
COUNSEL OF RECORD:
Joslyn Hunt, Chief Appellate Defender; Koan Mercer, Assistant Appellate
Defender, Helena, Montana
Steve Bullock, Montana Attorney General; C. Mark Fowler,
Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana
Bernie Cassidy, Lincoln County Attorney; Robert Slomski, Deputy
County Attorney, Libby, Montana
Submitted on Briefs: September 29, 2010
Decided: November 30, 2010
Chief Justice Mike McGrath delivered the Opinion of the Court.
Fred A. Goodenough appeals from the sentence imposed after his conviction by a
jury for the offenses of Sexual Assault (two counts), Incest (two counts), and Sexual
Intercourse Without Consent. We affirm.
On appeal Goodenough contends that the District Court erred sentencing him for
sexual assault and sexual intercourse without consent as to one of his two victims,
violating his protection against double jeopardy provided in § 46-11-410, MCA. He also
claims that his attorney failed to provide effective assistance of counsel by failing to
raise this issue at sentencing.
The two victims in this case were Goodenough’s granddaughters. In 2006 both
girls reported that Goodenough had repeatedly instigated sexual encounters with them
between 2002 and 2005. The offenses began when the younger granddaughter was 10
years old and the older was 12. The girls were periodically abandoned by their birth
mother and consequently often lived alone or with other relatives such as their
grandparents. Goodenough’s sexual encounters with his granddaughters ended when
they moved to Oregon in late 2005 or early 2006.
The Information filed by the State charged in five separate counts that
Goodenough committed sexual assault, incest, and sexual intercourse without consent as
to the older granddaughter “on or about and between 2002 and the end of 2005 as a
continuing course of conduct.” The Information charged that Goodenough committed
sexual assault and incest as to the younger granddaughter “on or about and between 2002
and the end of 2005 as a continuing course of conduct.”
The trial in this case took place between September 30 and October 2, 2008 and
both of the victims testified. While the girls could not precisely date each of the many
sexual crimes, they were able to date many of the events by reference to what grade they
were in, where they lived, what school they attended, which relatives they lived with,
family trips, family visits, family moves, and whether the attack was in a single or
double-wide mobile home. The older girl testified in graphic detail to multiple separate
instances in which Goodenough touched her sexually, exposed himself to her,
masturbated on her, forced her to masturbate him, performed oral sex on her, and
penetrated her digitally. She testified that he initiated these sexual contacts with her over
a span of years “any time there was a chance” when no other adult was present.
The jury convicted Goodenough of all charges. The District Court sentenced
Goodenough to 50 years in prison on each count, to run concurrently. The District Court
also designated Goodenough as a Level II sex offender and restricted his parole eligibility
for 18 years. He does not challenge the sexual assault and incest convictions as to the
younger girl, and challenges only the sexual assault conviction as to the older girl, which
is the only relief available to him. State v. Becker, 2005 MT 75, ¶ 25, 326 Mont. 364,
110 P.3d 1.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A district court’s decision applying a statute is reviewed to determine whether it is
correct. Becker, ¶ 14. Claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are mixed issues of law
and fact that this Court reviews de novo. Becker, ¶ 18.
On appeal Goodenough challenges only the fact that he was sentenced for both
sexual assault and sexual intercourse without consent after being convicted for those
crimes against his older granddaughter. He does not challenge any other convictions or
sentences and asks only that the one sexual assault conviction and sentence be vacated.
Initially, Goodenough notes that at trial his attorney did not object under § 46-11-
410, MCA, as he does now on appeal, to his being convicted or sentenced for both sexual
intercourse without consent and sexual assault as to the older girl. He concedes that he is
raising that claim for the first time on appeal.
Montana law provides, § 46-20-104(2), MCA, that failure to make a timely
objection at trial constitutes a waiver of error except as provided in § 46-20-701(2),
MCA. The latter statute provides that an error not objected to at trial may be considered
on appeal if it was prejudicial to guilt or punishment, and if the situation falls within
those described by subsections (2)(a) through (c).1 None of those situations is applicable
here. As provided in § 46-20-104(2), MCA, Goodenough did not object below and
therefore may not raise this issue on appeal. Nonetheless, Goodenough contends that he
Those are that the right asserted did not exist at the time of trial and has been
determined to be retroactive; that the prosecutor, judge or law enforcement suppressed
evidence; or that there are material and controlling facts not known at the time of trial.
is entitled to raise this issue because his trial counsel’s failure to do so below is evidence
that he was provided ineffective assistance of counsel.2
The right to counsel in criminal prosecutions under the Sixth Amendment to the
United States Constitution and Article II, section 24 of the Montana Constitution includes
a guarantee that counsel be effective. Whitlow v. State, 2008 MT 140, ¶ 10, 343 Mont.
90, 183 P.3d 861. We analyze claims of ineffective assistance using the two-pronged test
of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S. Ct. 2052 (1984). The first prong
requires the defendant to show that counsel’s performance was deficient by showing that
counsel made errors so serious that he was not functioning as the “counsel” guaranteed
by the Constitution. The second requires the defendant to show that the error was
sufficiently prejudicial to have deprived him of a fair trial. Whitlow, ¶ 10. Both prongs
of the Strickland test must be satisfied before a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel
is established. Whitlow, ¶ 11.
Under the first prong, counsel’s performance is measured by objective
reasonableness. Whitlow, ¶ 12. Evaluation of counsel’s performance is conducted under
a “strong presumption that counsel’s conduct falls within the wide range of reasonable
professional assistance.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 689, 104 S. Ct. at 2065; Whitlow, ¶ 15.
The second prong requires a showing that there is a “reasonable probability that, but for
counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceedings would have been different.
A reasonable probability is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the
Goodenough does not contend that he is entitled to have this issue reviewed as common
law “plain error,” and does not request that the Court undertake any such review.
outcome.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694, 104 S. Ct. at 2068; Worthan v. State, 2010 MT
98, ¶ 16, 356 Mont. 206, 232 P.3d 380; Robinson v. State, 2010 MT 108, ¶ 12, 356 Mont.
282, 232 P.3d 403.
Before reaching the merits of a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, we must
determine whether the claim is properly before the Court on appeal. That depends upon
whether the record answers why counsel took or failed to take the action at issue, and if it
does not, then the claim may not be pursued on direct appeal. State v. Green, 2009 MT
114, ¶ 17, 350 Mont. 141, 205 P.3d 798. If “merely ‘plausible’ (but not necessarily
‘actual’) justification exists for counsel’s conduct, postconviction proceedings are
appropriate and the appeal should be dismissed without prejudice.”
Green, ¶ 17.
However, where it is clear as a matter of law that counsel’s conduct did not constitute
ineffective assistance there is no need to defer consideration of the issue to a subsequent
proceeding for postconviction relief. See State v. Crosley, 2009 MT 126, ¶ 56, 350 Mont.
223, 206 P.3d 932.
The Information charging Goodenough with each of the offenses alleges that they
occurred “on or about and between 2002 and the end of 2005, as a continuing course of
conduct . . . .” Goodenough asserts that the result of that language was that the State
charged him with a single transaction lasting from 2002 until 2005 as to each of the girls.
He contends that his crimes constituted a single transaction under § 46-11-410(2), MCA,
and State v. Williams, 2010 MT 58, 355 Mont. 354, 228 P.3d 1127, and therefore the
conviction for sexual intercourse without consent as to the older girl precluded his also
being sentenced for the lesser included offense of sexual assault.
Montana law provides that a defendant may be charged with more than one
offense arising out of the same event. Section 46-11-410, MCA, provides, as relevant to
the present case:
(1) When the same transaction may establish the commission of more than
one offense, a person charged with the conduct may be prosecuted for each
(2) A defendant may not, however, be convicted of more than one
(a) one offense is included in the other[.]
In addition, § 46-11-404, MCA, allows the State to charge two or more offenses in the
same charging document in separate counts. That section also provides that the
“prosecution is not required to elect between the different offenses set forth in the
charging document, and the defendant may be convicted of any number of the offenses
charged except as provided in 46-11-410.” (Emphasis added.)
Section 46-11-410, MCA, clearly provides that a defendant may be prosecuted for
more than one offense arising from the “same transaction” unless the charges are among
those described in subsection (2) of that section. One of the subsection (2) prohibitions
arises when one offense is included in the other. In Williams the defendant was convicted
of sexual intercourse without consent, sexual assault and other offenses all arising from a
single incident in which he attacked a minor girl. On appeal, Williams argued that § 4611-410, MCA, precluded his conviction of both sexual intercourse without consent and
sexual assault based upon that same event. This Court concluded that sexual assault is a
lesser-included offense of sexual intercourse without consent.
Williams, ¶ 28.
Consequently, since both crimes arose from the same attack, § 46-11-410(2)(a), MCA,
precluded Williams’ conviction for both sexual intercourse without consent and sexual
assault. This Court vacated the conviction for the lesser included offense of sexual
assault, but affirmed the conviction for sexual intercourse without consent.
In Williams this Court noted that the defendant attacked his victim twice, once in
the initial assault and again later when she tried to leave the scene. Since the State
specifically chose to tie the charges against Williams only to the initial assault there was
clearly only a single transaction for purposes of applying § 46-11-410, MCA.
This Court concluded that § 46-11-410, MCA, “precludes the State from convicting
Williams of both sexual intercourse without consent and sexual assault where the charges
arose from the same attack as alleged in the information.” Williams, ¶ 30. We further
noted, however, that the “second attempted attack could have formed the basis for
additional charges that might have altered our discussion of the matter regarding two
separate transactions. We must take the case as it comes to us.” Williams, ¶ 20.
In Goodenough’s case, the charges brought against him and the facts proven at
trial support the existence of distinct criminal events that were missing from Williams.
Significantly, Goodenough expressly concedes in his briefs on appeal that the
Information and Affidavit alleged multiple separate incidents, and “further that the State
introduced evidence from which a jury could—but was not required—to find multiple
incidents occurring on different days over the 2002 to 2005 period.” Based upon the
record and upon Goodenough’s concessions, Williams provides no support for
Goodenough’s position that § 46-11-410, MCA, barred the conviction and sentence for
sexual assault as to the older girl.
The only remaining basis for Goodenough’s single transaction argument under §
46-11-410, MCA, is the presence of the “continuing course of conduct” language in the
Information. Describing a defendant’s multiple offenses over a span of years as a
continuing course of conduct does not transform those offenses in this case into a single
transaction for purposes of § 46-11-410, MCA.
We first note that Goodenough did not challenge the Information charging him
with the crimes on the ground that it failed to provide adequate notice of the charges
against him. A criminal charge is a “plain, concise, and definite statement of the offense
charged, including . . . the time and place of the offense as definitely as can be
determined.” Section 46-11-401, MCA. The name of a crime charged is controlled by
the specific acts involved. State v. Collins, 226 Mont. 188, 191, 734 P.2d 686, 688-89
(1987). A criminal charge must allow a person of common understanding to know what
is intended, State v. Riley, 199 Mont. 413, 421, 649 P.2d 1273, 1277 (1982), and must
give the defendant “reasonable notice” of the charges so as to avoid being charged twice
for the same offense, State v. Parker, 1998 MT 6, ¶ 28, 287 Mont. 151, 953 P.2d 692.
The Affidavit in Support of Motion for Leave to File Direct in this case describes many
separate instances of Goodenough’s offenses against the older girl, and there is therefore
no issue in this case that the Information was sufficient. State v. Howell, 254 Mont. 438,
447, 839 P.2d 87, 92 (1992).
A defendant’s conduct “underlying the charged offenses may have been similar
and may have continued over several years” and still constitute separate offenses for
which the State has the discretion to charge separately. State v. Darryl Hamilton, 2007
MT 223, ¶ 43, 339 Mont. 92, 167 P.3d 906 (Darryl Hamilton). A factual hallmark of
separate offenses arises when acquittal on one charge will not affect the others. Darryl
Hamilton, ¶ 45. In the present case, the jury in Goodenough’s trial was instructed that
each count was a distinct offense that must be decided separately, and that he could be
found guilty or not guilty on any or all of the offenses. 3
This Court has recognized the difficulty encountered in prosecuting sexual crimes
when the victim is a minor, especially when there are no witnesses other than the minor
and the perpetrator. Similar to the present case, in State v. Little, 260 Mont. 460, 861
P.2d 154 (1993), the defendant was charged with sexual intercourse without consent “on
or about 1987-88.” In Little we said that in “cases of sexual abuse against children, this
Court has declined to impose exacting standards for identifying the dates of the offenses
contained in the charging document . . . .” Little, 260 Mont. at 470, 861 P.2d at 160.
“[W]hen a continuing course of conduct is alleged, further specificity in the information
is not required.” Little, 260 Mont. at 470, 861 P.2d at 161. Even though a perpetrator’s
conduct underlying more than one offense may be similar, may continue for several
years, and may be described as a “continuous course of conduct,” it may nonetheless
constitute separate offenses and the State has discretion to charge them separately.
Darryl Hamilton, ¶ 43.
When we also consider the Affidavit in Support of the Motion for Leave to File
Direct, State v. Mona Hamilton, 252 Mont. 496, 499, 830 P.2d 1264, 1266 (1992) (Mona
Goodenough’s briefs on appeal specifically state that he does not claim that a specific
unanimity instruction was required in his case.
Hamilton), it is clear that unlike in Williams, the State never intended to charge
Goodenough with multiple offenses arising from a single event. The Affidavit details
different episodes of Goodenough’s sexual contact with the older girl. These encounters
were “mostly at the house when no one else was around or sometimes in the woods when
defendant would take her for a ride on a four wheeler.” Goodenough “put his fingers
inside her vagina, he made her play with his penis until he ejaculated, he put his mouth
on her vagina and her breasts. He rubbed his penis against her and ejaculated on her on a
couple of occasions.” He “had sexual contact with her on a lot of occasions, whenever he
got the chance and her grandmother and no one else was around.”
Moreover, the District Court’s instructions to the jury specified that each count of
the information represented separate distinct events. When a jury is properly instructed,
jurors can be assumed to have adhered to those instructions. State v. White, 2008 MT
129, ¶ 13, 343 Mont. 66, 184 P.3d 1008; Robinson, ¶ 16.
Therefore, we discern no material legal effect in this case from the State’s use of
the phrase “continuing course of conduct” in describing the offenses in the Information.
This Court has held that an offense should not be construed as a continuing course of
conduct unless the statute defining the offense “compels such a conclusion.” Mona
Hamilton, 252 Mont. at 500, 830 P.2d at 1267.
None of the charged offenses in
Goodenough’s case is statutorily defined so as to compel a conclusion that they should be
construed to involve a continuing course of conduct. See §§ 45-5-502, MCA, (sexual
assault); 45-5-503, MCA, (sexual intercourse without consent); and 45-5-507, MCA,
(incest). Even if “continuing course of conduct” and “same transaction” meant the same
thing, § 46-11-410, MCA, makes it clear that a defendant may be convicted of multiple
offenses arising from the same transaction.
As noted earlier, the older girl’s testimony at trial was consistent with the
allegations in the Affidavit.
constituted sexual assault.
She described multiple acts of sexual touching that
She also described several acts that constituted sexual
intercourse without consent when Goodenough digitally penetrated her. Clearly there
was sufficient evidence to support the convictions.
Goodenough has failed to
demonstrate that he was convicted of sexual assault for the same acts that supported the
conviction for sexual intercourse without consent.
In the present case, Goodenough was properly convicted of sexual assault, as well
as sexual intercourse without consent of the older child.
Having determined that
Goodenough was properly convicted and sentenced, we must consider his contention that
he was denied effective assistance of counsel. A defendant in a criminal case is denied
effective assistance of counsel only if his attorney’s conduct falls short of the range
reasonably demanded by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and if
the attorney’s failure is prejudicial. Becker, ¶ 18; Crosley, ¶ 54. Since § 46-11-410,
MCA, does not provide a basis for reversing Goodenough’s sexual assault conviction, his
attorney did not provide ineffective assistance by failing to object under that statute.
/S/ MIKE McGRATH
/S/ MICHAEL E WHEAT
/S/ PATRICIA COTTER
/S/ JIM RICE
/S/ DAVID RICE
District Court Judge David Rice, sitting
for Justice Brian Morris
Justice W. William Leaphart, dissenting.
I dissent. The Court distinguishes our holding in Williams from the present case
because, in Williams, the Court relied on only one of two encounters between the
defendant and victim and determined that double jeopardy precluded the conviction of
rape and the lesser-included offense of sexual assault.
Williams, ¶ 20. The Court
acknowledges and Goodenough points out, that this Court noted in Williams that the
“second attempted attack could have formed the basis for additional charges that might
have altered our discussion of the matter regarding two separate transactions.” Id. Our
case clearly falls outside of the specific factual scenario in Williams and thus requires a
When the same transaction may establish the commission of more than one
offense, a person charged with the conduct may be prosecuted for each offense. Section
46-11-410(1), MCA. A defendant may not, however, be convicted of more than one
offense if one offense is included in the other. Section 46-11-410(2)(a), MCA. The
Court reasons that the facts alleged in the supporting affidavit, and the evidence
presented, indicate that there were multiple instances of sexual conduct between
Goodenough and his granddaughter, and thus, the conduct was continuing from year to
year and may be charged separately. The Court cites Darryl Hamilton, ¶ 43, in support
of its assertion that the prosecution is allowed to charge a defendant with separate
offenses that may have been similar and may have continued over the course of several
years. However, the Court merely acknowledges the result of Darryl Hamilton and not
the applicable legal rule we announced.
We initially stated our rule in State v. Weaver, 1998 MT 167, ¶ 34, 290 Mont. 58,
964 P.2d 713, explained it in State v. Harris, 2001 MT 231, ¶ 12, 306 Mont. 525, 36 P.3d
372, and restated it in Darryl Hamilton, ¶ 42. When different criminal acts charged in
one count raise “a genuine possibility . . . that different jurors will conclude a defendant
committed disparate illegal acts subsumed under the single count,” a unanimity
instruction is required. Id. (citing Weaver, ¶ 34). The exception to the unanimity
instruction requirement occurs in the event of a “continuing course of conduct.” Id. We
explained that where criminal acts “are so closely connected that they form part of one
and the same transaction,” no unanimity instruction is needed because the acts constitute
only one offense. Id. Therefore, the pertinent inquiry is not how many events occurred
or over what amount of time. The appropriate question is whether the events are so
connected as to be considered one transaction for the purpose of prosecution.
As the Court correctly states, “a factual hallmark of separate offenses arises when
acquittal on one charge will not affect the others.” In Darryl Hamilton, a grandfather was
charged with eight different counts of incest. Id. at ¶ 45. Like Goodenough, Hamilton’s
actions continued from year to year and for many years. However, in Darryl Hamilton,
“each act within the year formed the basis for a separate conviction.” Id. That is, the
events were not so connected that acquittal of the incest charge for one year would have
affected the validity of the incest charge for any other year. Id. This is clearly not the
For example, the State could have charged Goodenough with sexual
intercourse without consent for the years 2002 and 2003, and then charged him with
sexual assault in the years 2004 and 2005. These charges would be based upon separate
units of time and acquittal on one charge would not affect the validity of the other
charges. However, the State chose to charge both counts based on a singular unit of time,
that is, a continuing course of conduct from 2002 to 2005. As the Court here points out,
there was a basis for a jury to conclude, as a factual matter, that there were separate
transactions wherein Goodenough may have committed sexual assault without
committing sexual intercourse without consent. However, as a legal matter, given the
framing of the charges, and the court’s instructions, the jury was not required to make
that distinction. Rather, it was told to look at the entire time period of 2002 to 2005 as
one transaction in which Goodenough simultaneously committed both sexual assault and
sexual intercourse without consent.
Contrary to the situation in Darryl Hamilton,
acquittal on the sexual assault charge here would have affected the sexual intercourse
without consent charge. That is, if Goodenough did not (as charged) commit the lesserincluded offense of sexual assault from 2002 to 2005, he could not logically have
committed the greater offense of sexual intercourse without consent during that same
time period. Williams, ¶¶ 23-30 (holding that the elements of sexual assault are a subset
of those required to prove sexual intercourse without consent).
The conviction for sexual assault regarding the older girl (Count I) was in
violation of § 46-11-410(2)(a), MCA. I would reverse and vacate that conviction and
/S/ W. WILLIAM LEAPHART
Justice James C. Nelson joins in the dissenting Opinion of Justice Leaphart.
/S/ JAMES C. NELSON