Windom v. State, 398 P.3d 150 (Idaho 2017) – Defendant, age 16 at the time of the crime, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and, pre-Miller, received a determinate life sentence. After the U.S. Supreme Court issued Montgomery, defendant sought to amend his then-pending motion for post-conviction relief to assert a claim under Miller and Montgomery that his fixed-life sentence violated the Eighth Amendment. The district court denied the motion on the grounds that Miller and Montgomery did not apply to the defendant because he did not receive a mandatory fixed-life sentence, so the proposed amendment would be futile. It further determined that even if Miller and Montgomery applied, the sentencing court did, in fact, apply “heightened standards and factors” as required under those cases such that amendment, again, would be futile. On appeal, however, the Idaho Supreme Court agreed with the defendant. It rejected the lower court’s determination that Miller applied to mandatory LWOP sentences only, because Montgomery makes clear that “Miller was retroactive not only for those juveniles sentenced to a mandatory of life with parole, but also for those for whom the sentencing court imposed a fixed-life sentence without considering the distinctive attributes of youth.” As to the (un)timeliness of defendant’s motion to amend, it explained that he did not have a claim under Miller until Montgomery was issued; Montgomery clarified Miller’s scope and confirmed its retroactive application. “Therefore, his motion to amend his petition to include a claim under Miller and Montgomery, made one day after the Montgomery decision was issued, was timely.” Finally, the Idaho Supreme Court disagreed with the lower court’s conclusion that the required mitigating factors of youth were adequately considered at defendant’s sentencing proceeding: “The transcript does not show that any evidence was presented regarding the distinctive attributes of youth mentioned by the Supreme Court in Miller and Montgomery.” The sentencing court’s bare statement that it had “considered in mitigation . . . the relative youth” of the defendant did not suffice because, per Montgomery, “Miller . . . did more than require a sentencer to consider a juvenile offender’s youth before imposing life without parole; it established that the penological justifications for life without parole collapse in light of the distinctive attributes of youth.” The Idaho Supreme Court further rejected the lower court’s characterization of the sentencer’s supposed determination that the defendant’s actions did not reflect the transient immaturity of youth but, instead, reflected irreparable corruption. It explained that this language “did not appear in the court’s comments at the sentencing hearing, obviously because the hearing predated the Supreme Court’s onions in Miller and Montgomery, nor did the court point to any statements it made that have the equivalent meaning.” To the extent the lower court was attempting to make the requisite determination retrospectively, “[a] retrospective analysis does not comply with Miller and Montgomery where the evidence of the required characteristics and factors was not presented during the sentencing hearing.” Thus, the district court erred in denying the defendant’s motion to amend his petition for post-conviction relief. Defendant’s motion was made within a reasonable time after the issuance of Montgomery, the sentencing hearing in his case did not include evidence of the factors required by Miller and Montgomery, and, therefore, his sentencing proceeding did not comport with the requirements of those decisions. Dismissal of petition for post-conviction relief vacated, order denying motion to amend reversed, case remanded for further proceedings.