Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

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Courtney Krueger appealed a judgment affirming a decision of the Department of Transportation suspending his driving privileges for two years. Because the Traill County sheriff's deputy had jurisdiction to make the arrest in Grand Forks County and Krueger's statutory rights and constitutional rights were not violated by the deputy's administration of three breath tests, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Krueger v. N.D. Dep't of Transportation" on Justia Law

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In 2007, Tilmer Everett was convicted by jury of gross sexual imposition. In August 2015, the district court barred Everett from future filings without the court's permission. Everett appealed a district court order denying his petition for post-conviction relief based on alleged newly discovered evidence. Everett argued the district court erred in denying his petition and denying his request for an evidentiary hearing. Because Everett was subject to an order prohibiting him from filing new or additional post-conviction relief claims, the North Dakota Supreme Court treated the district court's current order as denying Everett leave to file additional motions. The Court held orders denying leave to file were not appealable. Therefore, the Court dismissed Everett's appeal. View "Everett v. North Dakota" on Justia Law

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Joshua Cook appealed after a jury found him guilty of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of heroin, possession of methadone, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence after proper foundation was laid, the court did not abuse its discretion by not granting a departure from the mandatory minimum sentence, and the court did not err in considering Cook's prior convictions when sentencing. View "North Dakota v. Cook" on Justia Law

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Richie Wilder appealed a criminal judgment entered after a jury found him guilty of murder and from an order partially granting his motion to correct an illegal sentence. Wilder argued his conviction had to be reversed and he was entitled to a new trial because his constitutional right to remain silent was violated by the State's improper comments during closing argument. He alternatively argued his sentence was illegal and should be amended because the district court erred by ordering him to have no contact with his children until they turn 18 years old. A comment on the defendant's post-arrest silence is an improper comment on the right to remain silent in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. The statutory sentencing provisions did not authorize the sentencing court to order no contact as part of a prison sentence. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the judgment as to Wilder's conviction, reversed the judgment as to his sentence, and remanded for further proceedings. View "North Dakota v. Wilder" on Justia Law

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In 2015, Amira Gunn and Calvin Till communicated in private conversations on MeetMe.com, a social networking website. Gunn and Till exchanged more than 700 messages between November 11 and 13. In a portion of the conversations, Gunn gave explicit and lewd instructions to Till on how to groom and sexually assault his young daughter and how to abduct and sexually assault Till's two neighbor children. During an interview with police, Gunn admitted to having the conversations with Till, acknowledging she knew of Till's sexual fetish for children including his own daughter. Gunn stated she believed Till's daughter was approximately six years old. Gunn characterized the conversations with Till as role-playing. Gunn was ultimately convicted of attempted gross sexual imposition (a class A felony). At trial, a police detective testified he believed the initial conversations between Gunn and Till involved role-playing. The detective testified he believed the role-playing eventually ceased and Gunn and Till reassumed their own identities. The detective testified that later in the conversations Till relayed to Gunn that he was sexually assaulting his daughter in real-time. Gunn argued on appeal of her conviction and sentence there was no evidence of a victim in this case: because Till's daughter was not present during the online conversations and that the neighbor children could have been imaginary, thus no victim. Gunn also claimed that since Till did not commit the crime of gross sexual imposition, there was no evidence that Gunn aided him in any way. The North Dakota Supreme Court found no reversible error in this matter, and affirmed Gunn’s conviction and sentence. View "North Dakota v. Gunn" on Justia Law

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Harold Olson appealed a district court order affirming the North Dakota Department of Transportation's ("Department") revocation of his driving privileges for two years, following an arrest for driving under the influence. The revocation of driving privileges for refusal to submit to chemical testing requires a valid arrest; in the absence of authority from Congress, the State lacks criminal jurisdiction over crimes committed by non-member Indians on tribal land. Whether an officer has jurisdiction to arrest depends on the law of the place where the arrest is made. Olson argued the deputy lacked the authority to arrest him on tribal land and that a valid arrest was a prerequisite to revocation of his driving privileges. Absent a valid arrest, Olson argued the revocation order was not in accordance with the law. The North Dakota Supreme Court determined the deputy lacked authority to arrest Olson, a non-member Indian, on Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation tribal land. The Court therefore reversed the district court's order affirming the Department's revocation of Olson's driving privileges and reinstated Olson's driving privileges. View "Olson v. N.D. Dep't of Transportation" on Justia Law

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Michael Terrill appealed a criminal judgment entered upon a conditional guilty plea to possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia. Terrill argued the district court improperly denied his motion to suppress evidence. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "North Dakota v. Terrill" on Justia Law

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Steven Sauter appealed a judgment entered upon a conditional guilty plea to criminal vehicular homicide, reserving his right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress the results of a warrantless blood-alcohol test. Sauter argued there was not sufficient evidence to support the district court's decision that exigent circumstances permitted the warrantless blood-alcohol test. After review, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the warrantless blood-alcohol test was authorized under the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement, and thus affirmed the trial court’s denial of Sauter’s suppression motion. View "North Dakota v. Sauter" on Justia Law

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Sergei Carlson appealed a district court order summarily dismissing his post-conviction relief application. In July 2007, law enforcement officers responded to a report of a non-responsive female. When they arrived, officers found W.P.C., a 16-year-old girl, lying in bed not breathing. W.P.C. was pronounced dead. Carlson, the victim's adoptive brother, and P.R., the victim's mother, were the only other people present in the home at the time of W.P.C.'s death. An autopsy of W.P.C. indicated the cause of death was suffocation and/or asphyxiation. Carlson told the officers during an interview that he strangled W.P.C. with his hands and placed pillows over her face to muffle the sound. Carlson then indicated he had sexual contact with W.P.C. after strangling/suffocating her. In September 2008, Carlson pled guilty to murder and performing a deviant sexual act. Carlson was 15 years old at the time and was initially charged in juvenile court before the case was transferred to adult court. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole in October 2008. Carlson filed a post-conviction relief application in October 2016. The district court appointed Carlson counsel at his request. The State answered Carlson's pro se application for post-conviction relief in November 2016. The State subsequently moved for summary disposition, specifically asserting the application should be barred by the two-year statute of limitations under N.D.C.C. 29-32.1-01. Carlson responded to the motion through his counsel and the parties stipulated that the court could address the matter of timeliness of Carlson's application based on the written pleadings before the court. The court dismissed Carlson's application as untimely in June 2017, because it did not meet an exception to the two-year statute of limitations. Carlson filed a notice of appeal in July 2017. In this matter before the North Dakota Supreme Court, Carlson argued the district court erred in summarily dismissing his post-conviction relief application based on the statute of limitations. The Supreme Court concluded the district court did not err by summarily dismissing Carlson's post-conviction relief application. View "Carlson v. North Dakota" on Justia Law

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The City of Bismarck appealed a district court’s suppression order. In December 2016, at about 10:10 p.m., a Bismarck police officer observed a vehicle fail to negotiate a turn and slide into a snowbank on the side of the road. The officer then observed the vehicle back out of the snowbank and proceed to fishtail down the street. The officer testified he suspected the driver was driving at an unsafe speed for the road conditions. The police officer followed the vehicle, and activated his overhead lights, but the driver, defendant Deanne Brekhus, did not stop. The vehicle made several turns before entering a parking lot, and after about thirty seconds of pursuit, stopped in front of a garage door, waited for the door to open, and entered the garage. The garage was not attached to the defendant's residence, and the overhead garage door remained open. The officer commanded Brekhus to stay in the vehicle when she attempted to exit her vehicle. At this point the police officer entered the garage on foot and made contact with the defendant, immediately noting the odor of burnt marijuana and alcohol. The officer observed Brekhus was slurring her speech; had bloodshot, glossy eyes; and had difficulty keeping her eyes open while speaking with the officer. The officer had her come out of the garage and perform field sobriety tests. Brekhus was unable to follow directions for the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. The City ultimately charged Brekhus with driving under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana. In February 2017 Brekhus moved the district court to suppress evidence, arguing that her rights under the Fourth Amendment and North Dakota Constitution were violated when the police entered her garage and searched her vehicle. She also contended her statutory right to consult counsel before chemical testing was violated. The City opposed both motions. The district court granted Brekhus's motion to suppress the basis of the police officer's initial entry into the open, detached garage without a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the police officer's warrantless limited entry into her open garage while in "hot pursuit" did not violate Brekhus’ Constitutional rights under the federal or North Dakota Constitutions. The matter was remanded for further proceedings. View "City of Bismarck v. Brekhus" on Justia Law