Another appeal is in the works for Billings livestock breeder James Leachman. He acted on his own behalf for his first appeal to District Court. Now he intends to represent himself on appeal before the Montana Supreme Court.
His notice of intent to appeal was filed September 20. At this point, the District Court must furnish Leachman's records to the state Supreme Court and he has 60 days to prepare his arguments on the appeal.
Leachman’s earlier conviction on five counts of abusing horses was upheld by Yellowstone County District Judge Susan Watters. Further, Judge Watters rejected Leachman’s argument that prosecutors didn’t prove that he owned the horses.
He is free on bail while the appeal process continues. His sentence of 120 days in Yellowstone County’s Detention Facility as part of a five-year sentence plus a $5,000 fine is on hold pending the appeal.
A jury convicted Leachman in December of abusing at least five of his 800-plus horses that he had pastured on a ranch east of Billings.
According to court records:
The unbreakable plastic leg bands he placed on most of the horses caused the deaths of at least five after he failed to adjust or remove them.
Almost all of the horses were seized in 2011 by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs for trespassing on tribal lands. The horses were sold at auction.
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