North Dakota v. Blotske

A district court's decision on a motion for mistrial will not be reversed on appeal absent a showing the court abused its discretion or that a manifest injustice would occur. The cumulative effect of multiple errors may be productive of a manifest injustice which requires the district court to declare a mistrial. Brady Blotske appealed a criminal judgment entered after a jury found him guilty of gross sexual imposition, felonious restraint, and terrorizing. During the testimony of one of the detectives, the State offered the video interview of Blotske and stated, "pursuant to the previous stipulation where we admitted the tape, I would like to play about 13 minutes of the interview where they actually get into the specifics." The State played the video for the jury. Blotske's counsel objected because the video began to play content the parties had agreed to omit. The district court permitted the State to address the jury about the statement. Blotske requested a mistrial just before the second day of trial was set to begin. Blotske's counsel argued the statements on the video were prejudicial and when the State addressed the jury about the statements, it brought further attention to the misinformation and tainted the jury beyond repair. The State resisted the motion. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court erred in denying Blotske's request for a mistrial, reverseed and remanded for a new trial. View "North Dakota v. Blotske" on Justia Law