Vermont v. StearnsAnnotate this Case
Defendant Dean Jeffrey Stearns appeals the superior court’s dismissal of his motion for sentence reconsideration as untimely. In December 2018, defendant pleaded guilty to five counts of voyeurism and two counts of promoting a recording of sexual conduct. On January 23, 2020, he was sentenced to an aggregate term of ten to fifteen years’ imprisonment, suspended except five years to serve. Defendant filed a notice of appeal on February 20, 2020, but later moved to dismiss the appeal. The Vermont Supreme Court granted the motion to dismiss the appeal by entry order dated August 28, 2020. Pursuant to 13 V.S.A. 7042(a) and Vermont Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(b), defendant moved for sentence reconsideration in the superior court ninety days later, on November 26, 2020. The superior court dismissed defendant’s motion for sentence reconsideration because the motion was filed more than ninety days after the sentence was imposed and, in its view, the Supreme Court’s order dismissing the appeal without affirming on the merits was not an “order or judgment of the Supreme Court upholding a judgment of conviction.” Defendant appealed, arguing that because the Supreme Court’s order dismissing the first appeal left untouched his conviction, the order was an “order or judgment of the Supreme Court upholding a judgment of conviction.” Concluding that the motion is timely, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded for review on the merits.