Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

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Charles Mayland appealed his conviction entered upon a jury finding him guilty of being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor fourth-offense, a class C felony. The North Dakota Supreme Court held a defendant fails to preserve a jury instruction issue for appellate review when he stipulates to the exclusion of a jury instruction regarding prior convictions. Furthermore, the crime of actual physical control may occur on private property, including a private driveway. Here, the parties stipulated to the existence of Mayland's prior convictions, and Mayland's driveway was within the scope of the statute. Therefore, the Supreme Court affirmed Mayland's conviction. View "North Dakota v. Mayland" on Justia Law

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In 2016, a Ward County North Dakota Narcotics Task Force Officer observed a black Dodge Charger traveling east bound in the west bound lane near 36th Avenue NE in Minot. A Minot police officer initiated a traffic stop for the traffic violation; the task force officer was traveling in an unmarked patrol vehicle. The Charger continued for a few blocks before coming to a stop. Neither the State nor Dustin Lark disputed Lark was lawfully stopped when he was pulled over for driving in the wrong lane. Lark was arrested for unlawful possession of a schedule III drug with intent to deliver. Lark filed a motion to suppress evidence of items found during that stop. The State opposed the motion. The district court held a hearing on the suppression motion at which one of the officers testified. Both parties questioned the officer and filed post-hearing briefs. The district court granted Lark's motion to suppress. The district court found the initial search was permissible under the automobile exception; however, the district court also found probable cause ceased to exist after receiving the inconclusive field test results of suspected crack cocaine. The North Dakota Supreme Court reversed, finding the district court erred when it determined probable cause to search ceased upon receiving the inconclusive drug test result without considering the totality of the circumstances in an objective manner. View "North Dakota v. Lark" on Justia Law

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Arthur Crissler appealed a district court judgment after a jury convicted him of possessing a weapon in a correctional facility. The charges arose from the search of Crissler's cell block on September 3, 2016 during which a pencil wrapped in paper, thread, and elastic was found concealed underneath the mattress of Crissler's bunk. Because sufficient evidence was presented to support the jury's verdict, and the testimony regarding the potential use and composition of an altered pencil was admissible, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "North Dakota v. Crissler" on Justia Law

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Anthony Campbell appealed a criminal judgment after a jury found him guilty of murder for the 2014 stabbing death of Shannon Brunelle. The autopsy report stated Brunelle had seven lethal stab wounds in his back and neck and had been beaten with a golf club. Minot police arrested Campbell for the murder of Brunelle. At trial, the State submitted evidence showing Campbell's DNA was found inside a pair of bloody athletic shoes found inside the garage. Campbell's DNA was also found on a broken golf club used to strike Brunelle. Campbell testified at trial he had no involvement in Brunelle's murder. Campbell offered testimony from Ross Rolshoven, an expert private investigator to provide his opinions of the case. Rolshoven testified that he believed at least two assailants were present when Brunelle was murdered. Rolshoven also provided his opinions about the State's investigation and a third-party's possible involvement in Brunelle's murder. The district court sustained the State's objections when Rolshoven testified about facts not in evidence. After a seven-day trial, the jury found Campbell guilty of Brunelle's murder. Campbell argued on appeal of his conviction that the district court should have allowed his expert to provide all of his opinions about Brunelle's murder. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed, concluding the district court did not abuse its discretion in its evidentiary decisions relating to the testimony of Campbell's expert witness and the admission of evidence of prior bad acts. View "North Dakota v. Campbell" on Justia Law

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Haruna Giwa appealed the summary dismissal of his application for post-conviction relief based on a newly adopted rule of criminal procedure. Giwa pleaded guilty to interference with a telephone during an emergency call, and the district court entered the criminal judgment on November 17, 2015. Giwa was not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Giwa was paroled into the United States in November 2014. In 2016, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") terminated Giwa's parole status. As part of his guilty plea, Giwa signed an acknowledgment of rights, waiver of appearance, plea agreement, and plea on November 16, 2015. However, the acknowledgment and plea documents did not include information about the possible immigration consequences if Giwa was not a United States citizen. Giwa applied for post-conviction relief, arguing he was not advised of "the right to a jury trial, the right to cross-examine adverse witnesses, the right to be protected from compelled self-incrimination or to testify and present evidence." Giwa also argued he was not informed of the potential immigration status consequences if he pleaded guilty to interference with a telephone during an emergency call. Further, Giwa contends he did not know DHS would terminate his parole and detain him due to pleading guilty to a crime. The district court denied Giwa's application for post-conviction relief and granted the State's motion for summary disposition under N.D.C.C. 29-32.1-09. In granting the State's motion, the district court determined Giwa acknowledged his rights, including the waiver of his right to counsel. Additionally, the district court concluded the addition of N.D.R.Crim.P.11(b)(1)(j) did not apply retroactively, meaning neither the State nor the district court had an obligation to inform Giwa about the effect of a guilty plea on his immigration status. Finding no reversible error in that judgment, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Giwa v. North Dakota" on Justia Law

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Mark Rath appealed a district court order denying his petition to correct his sentence or declare a "mistrial" based on his claim of prejudicial sentencing. A supervisory writ is issued rarely and cautiously only to rectify errors and prevent injustice in extraordinary cases when no adequate alternative remedy exists. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the court did not abuse its discretion in denying Rath's petition under N.D.R.Crim.P. 35 because his sentence was not illegal. The Court treated his request on appeal, however, as a request for a writ of supervision based on the district court's oral pronouncement during his resentencing in 2012 for a felony that he would keep his "misdemeanor disposition." The Court concluded this was an appropriate case to exercise its discretionary supervisory jurisdiction. The Court remanded with instructions for the district court to direct the clerk of district court to change the disposition of this case to a misdemeanor under N.D.C.C. 12.1-32-02(9). View "North Dakota v. Rath" on Justia Law

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Steven Newark, Jr. appealed after a jury found him guilty of burglary, terrorizing, and criminal mischief. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Newark's motion for a continuance or a dismissal. Furthermore, the Court concluded there was no abuse of discretion in allowing the State to call a police officer to testify in rebuttal and in delaying its ruling whether other officers would be allowed to testify in rebuttal. View "North Dakota v. Newark" on Justia Law

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Ale Majetic appealed after a jury found him guilty of two counts of gross sexual imposition. Majetic argued his right to an impartial jury was violated when, after a 56-day continuance, the district court failed to inquire whether the jury had formed an opinion in the case or had been influenced by the media. He also argued the court abused its discretion in commenting on his expert witness's testimony. After review, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court did not commit obvious error, and affirmed the judgment. View "North Dakota v. Majetic" on Justia Law

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The State appealed an order granting Steven Helm's motion to dismiss a criminal prosecution against him for refusing to submit to a warrantless urine test incident to arrest. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the State could not criminally prosecute Helm for refusing to submit to the warrantless urine test incident to arrest. View "North Dakota v. Helm" on Justia Law

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Robert Pulkrabek appealed the district court's judgment after a jury found him guilty of theft of property. Pulkrabek argued the district court erred when it did not tell the jury it had to unanimously agree on which theory of theft it believed he committed beyond a reasonable doubt. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed, finding that a jury was not required to unanimously agree upon which action the defendant committed under the subsections of N.D.C.C. 12.1.-23-02. View "North Dakota v. Pulkrabek" on Justia Law