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Montana Supreme Court upholds conviction of man guilty of child sex abuse
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Montana Supreme Court upholds conviction of man guilty of child sex abuse

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wesley smith

Wesley Smith

The Montana Supreme Court affirmed a Missoula jury’s conviction of a man who sexually abused a 9-year-old girl in 2016.

Wesley Smith, who is in his late 30s, was found guilty in a jury trial in June 2017 for forcing the girl to strip and dance for him.

He was sentenced by Missoula District Court Judge Leslie Halligan in December 2017 to 100 years in prison, with 80 of those years suspended. She also ordered Smith be subject to GPS monitoring for the remainder of his life after his release from prison.

Smith filed the appeal in April 2018. He argued lifetime GPS monitoring is unconstitutional because “it mandates lifetime satellite monitoring of people whose sentences have been fully discharged.”

The court disagreed, since a child sex abuse conviction mandates a 100-year sentence.

“Because it applies only to adult offenders, the ‘practical effect’ is that of a life sentence. Thus, even if an offender is released from prison early, he will still be subject to state supervision for the balance of the sentence — until he is at least 118 years old,” the decision read. Smith did not argue that GPS monitoring is impermissible during this time of supervision.

Smith also objected to the district court allowing the jury to watch a video interview of the girl. The court agreed with this, but held the video did not impact his right to a fair trial.

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