Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

by
Rebecca Jessee appealed a district court order deferring imposition of sentence after she was found guilty of tampering with a public service. Jessee argued her presence on railroad tracks during the Dakota Access Pipeline protest did not constitute tampering with tangible property and the district court improperly classified Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway as a public service. The North Dakota Supreme Court agreed and reversed, concluding Jessee's presence on the tracks did not constitute tampering with tangible property. View "North Dakota v. Jessee" on Justia Law

by
Mark Rogers appealed his conviction for gross sexual imposition ("GSI"). Rogers argued the district court: (1) violated his Sixth Amendment right to a public trial by closing his competency hearing on March 28, 2017; and (2) acted arbitrarily when it assigned extradition costs as restitution to this case. Because the district court did not make individualized findings supporting closure of the competency hearing, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded Rogers’ Sixth Amendment public trial guarantee was violated. The restitution award was proper however, and was affirmed. The Court reversed the district court's closure of the competency hearing and remanded for further proceedings. View "North Dakota v. Rogers" on Justia Law

by
North Dakota appealed a district court order dismissing with prejudice felony charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver against Mitchell James and Taelor Brown. The North Dakota Supreme Court determined the production of hash oil is "manufacturing" as defined in N.D.C.C. 19-03.1-01(17), and because the district court made a mistake of law regarding the possession with intent to deliver charge, the State met the burden of proving probable cause. View "North Dakota v. James" on Justia Law

by
William Wallace appealed a second amended criminal judgment entered after he pleaded guilty to luring minors by computer or other electronic means. Before accepting a guilty plea, the district court must inform a defendant of and determine the defendant understood any mandatory minimum penalty, including any mandatory minimum term of probation. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court did not substantially comply with N.D.R.Crim.P. 11 when the court failed to inform Wallace of and determine that he understood the five-year mandatory minimum period of probation. The Court therefore reversed and remanded this case to the district court to allow Wallace to withdraw his plea of guilty and for further necessary proceedings. View "North Dakota v. Wallace" on Justia Law

by
JanMichel Wangstad was convicted by jury of attempted murder. Wangstad argued on appeal: (1) the district court erred in the admission of social media posts he made prior to the alleged crime; (2) the jury was given erroneous instructions; and (3) the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction. West Fargo police were dispatched to the Rodeway Inn in response to a report of a man with a gun. Responding officers located the source of the disturbance in one of the rooms. One of the officers knocked on the door of the room and announced, "police." A female acquaintance of Wangstad opened the door and began to step back into the room. The officers told the female to get down on the ground. Two officers then entered a few steps into the room and noticed Wangstad standing by a desk. Wangstad made a fast-paced movement from the desk to the corner of the room where he fired a gun in the direction of one of the officers. The bullet traveled through the wall above the entry door to the room and lodged into the wall of another room. Finding no reversible error in the district court judgment, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed Wangstad's conviction. View "North Dakota v. Wangstad" on Justia Law

by
Daniel Bohe appealed entered after his conditional plea of guilty to a charge of driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater. Bohe argued that because he was given an incomplete implied consent advisory, the district court erred by failing to suppress evidence of blood test results under N.D.C.C. 39-20-01(3)(b). We reverse the judgment and the district court's order denying Bohe's motion to suppress the blood test evidence. The North Dakota Supreme Court concurred the entire statutory warning was not given here, and as a result, the blood test was inadmissible. The Court concluded the motion to suppress the blood test result should have been granted. The Court reversed the criminal judgment and remanded this case for further proceedings. View "North Dakota v. Bohe" on Justia Law

by
Roger Davies appealed an order granting summary judgment and the district court judgment dismissing his application for post-conviction relief. In 2014, Roger Davies was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child. In November 2014, Davies pleaded guilty. During the change of plea, the district court advised Davies that as a part of the binding plea agreement, the court would not sentence him to more than 15 years imprisonment. After a presentence investigation, Davies was sentenced to a term of 15 years imprisonment and supervised probation for life. In March 2017, Davies filed a pro se application for post-conviction relief and a written request for a hearing. The application included several exhibits, including a page from his risk assessment, two pages from the sentencing transcript, two pages from his presentence investigation, a victim impact statement, two pages of the transcript from the change of plea hearing, and a copy of the information charging him. Davies' application alleged multiple legal errors leading to his conviction. Davies also alleged he received ineffective assistance of counsel on multiple grounds. Davies' application also claimed judicial bias, deficiencies with the charging document, an unduly harsh sentence, and prosecutorial misconduct. Davies' application included a verification stating he signed it as both the affiant and petitioner, and his signature was notarized. The State answered, moved for summary disposition, and filed a brief pointing to citations in the record, arguing Davies' application did not raise a genuine issue of material fact. Davies requested a hearing on his application for post-conviction relief through his attorney, and personally responded to the State's motion for summary disposition. The court proceeded with arguments on the State's summary disposition motion. No additional evidence was presented. The court stated on the record there was no evidence presented in affidavit form by Davies. The court granted the State's motion and summarily dismissed the application for post-conviction relief. The North Dakota Supreme Court determined Davies raised a genuine issue of material fact as to whether his guilty plea was properly obtained, and reversed only to this issue. The Court found all of Davies' other arguments failed. The matter was remanded for the trial court to conduct further proceedings. View "Davies v. North Dakota" on Justia Law

by
Mary Redway and Alexander Simon appealed after the district court found Redway guilty of disorderly conduct and Simon guilty of disorderly conduct and physical obstruction of a government function. Redway and Simon participated with a group of about 150 other individuals in a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline on October 22, 2016. The State initially charged several protesters, including Redway and Simon, with criminal trespass and engaging in a riot. The State subsequently dismissed those charges under N.D.R.Crim.P. 48 and filed new complaints against several protesters, including Redway and Simon, charging them with physical obstruction of a government function under N.D.C.C. 12.1-08-01, disobedience of a safety order during a riot under N.D.C.C. 12.1-25-04, and disorderly conduct under N.D.C.C. 12.1-31-01. Redway and Simon argued there was insufficient evidence to support their disorderly conduct convictions under N.D.C.C. 12.1-31-01; Redway and Simon claimed they were peaceful protesters marching in a field and caused no injuries to others or damage to property, and they argued their activity was constitutionally protected and should have been excluded from evidence under N.D.C.C. 12.1-31-01(2). Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "North Dakota v. Simon, North Dakota v. Redway" on Justia Law

by
Jesseaca Finneman appealed after a jury found her guilty of: (1) possession of more than 500 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver; (2) unlawful possession of hashish; and (3) two counts of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Finneman argued she was entitled to a new trial because the jury verdict form for the charge of possession of more than 500 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver was confusing and misapplied the law. After review of the circumstances of this case, the North Dakota Supreme Court was satisfied that because of the confusion and uncertainty demonstrated during jury deliberations, Finneman established the plain error in the verdict form affected her substantial rights. The Court therefore reversed Finneman's conviction for possession with intent to deliver. View "North Dakota v. Finneman" on Justia Law

by
A law enforcement officer stopped a vehicle driven by defendant Crystal Corona on October 19, 2017, after she failed to dim her headlights. The officer thereafter detected the odor of alcohol emanating from Corona, and she refused to submit to an onsite screening test for intoxication and a subsequent Intoxilyzer test. The State charged her with driving under the influence for refusing a chemical test for intoxication. The State appealed the district court order denying the its pretrial motion to allow the introduction of evidence at a jury trial about Corona's refusal to submit to an onsite screening test for intoxication. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the State's appeal was not authorized by N.D.C.C. 29-28-07(5), and dismissed the appeal. View "North Dakota v. Corona" on Justia Law