Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

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In February 2015, officers seized $3,260 in United States currency from Ronald Newhauser. Newhauser was a passenger in a vehicle where police discovered methamphetamine and other paraphernalia. Newhauser was charged in connection with this stop in district court, but those charges were later dismissed because of federal charges relating to the incident against Newhauser. The State served Newhauser in this forfeiture action in September 2017. Newhauser moved for summary judgment, which he supported with an affidavit. In his affidavit, Newhauser admitted the $3,260 was in his wallet and officers seized it as part of the traffic stop. Newhauser also said he obtained the $3,260 from his social security disability income and savings from working occasionally for a contractor. The State responded to Newhauser's motion, but it did not support its response with any affidavits or other evidence. In its response, the State argued Newhauser raised factual questions through his affidavit requiring an evidentiary hearing. The State never scheduled a hearing on the motion for summary judgment. The district court granted Newhauser's motion for summary judgment, noting the State and Newhauser's arguments regarding the promptness of the action and lack of significant nexus between the property seized and offense committed. But the district court concluded the State failed to rebut any facts set forth by Newhauser in his affidavit. Because the State failed to present any evidence that created a genuine dispute of material fact, the district court granted Newhauser's motion for summary judgment without holding a hearing. The district court entered a judgment requiring the State to return the $3,260 to Newhauser. The State appealed. Finding no reversible error in the grant of summary judgment to Newhauser, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "North Dakota v. $3260.00 United States Currency" on Justia Law

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LeRoy Wheeler appeals a district court judgment granting Governor Doug Burgum's motion to dismiss and denying Wheeler's motion to appoint counsel. Wheeler was an inmate at the North Dakota State Penitentiary ("NDSP"), who filed a complaint alleging civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. 1983 by Governor Burgum in both his official capacity and his personal capacity. The complaint alleged Governor Burgum failed to supervise and govern officials and staff at the NDSP. Wheeler claims that NDSP officials and staff interfered with his mail, discriminated against him on the basis of race, denied him access to the courts, prevented him from challenging the conditions of his confinement, and retaliated against him for exercising his rights. Wheeler sent Governor Burgum two letters commenting on the conduct of these individuals. Governor Burgum did not respond to the letters. Wheeler sought injunctive relief against Governor Burgum in his official capacity for failing to supervise the actions of officials and staff at the NDSP. Wheeler also sought punitive damages for Governor Burgum's failure to respond to his letters or otherwise investigate the issues described in his letters. Additionally, Wheeler moved for appointed counsel. Governor Burgum moved to dismiss the complaint under N.D.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and opposed Wheeler's motion to appoint counsel. The district court granted Governor Burgum's motion to dismiss and denied Wheeler's motion for appointment of counsel. The North Dakota Supreme Court agreed Wheeler failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted, so the district court did not err by granting Governor Burgum's motion to dismiss. Further, the district court did not err by denying Wheeler's motion to appoint counsel. View "Wheeler v. Burgum" on Justia Law

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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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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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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