Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

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In March 2015, Cody Atkins pleaded guilty to gross sexual imposition. Following the imposition of sentence, Atkins appealed the criminal judgment and the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. Atkins later filed two applications for post-conviction relief; one in March of 2016 which was dismissed, and another in September of 2016 which was dismissed and later affirmed on appeal. Additionally, Atkins filed a motion to reduce his sentence in July 2017, a motion to dismiss the GSI charge in November 2017, a motion to “vacate” his guilty plea in February 2018, and a motion for a new trial in March 2018. The district court considered the February 2018 and March 2018 motions constituted a singular third application for post-conviction relief. Then in November 2018, Atkins filed another application for post-conviction relief, the subject of this appeal, claiming 10 grounds for relief, alleging: (1) he was presented an unlawful arrest warrant; (2) he made an involuntary or coerced confession; (3) inconsistent statements made by everyone during the interrogation process; (4) the prosecution was using false evidence; (5) the sexual assault kit indicated no signs of injury; (6) law enforcement officers did not knock and announce their presence; (7) judicial bias; (8) malicious prosecution; (9) illegal information; and (10) an illusory plea. On December 3, 2018, the State filed an answer asserting affirmative defenses of misuse of process and res judicata and moved, under N.D.R.Ct. 3.2, to dismiss the application. Four days later, on December 7, 2018, the district court issued an order denying Atkins’ application for post-conviction relief, concluding Atkins was procedurally barred from raising the claims contained in his application due to the doctrines of misuse of process and res judicata. The Supreme Court reversed the district court order as to this latest application for post-conviction relief, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Atkins v. North Dakota" on Justia Law

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Cody Atkins appealed a district court order denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea and his motion for a new trial. In March 2015, Atkins pled guilty to gross sexual imposition. In June 2015, Atkins was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with the North Dakota Department of Corrections, with five years suspended for a period of 10 years of supervised probation with credit for time served. Atkins argued the district court erred by: (1) classifying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea as a post-conviction relief proceeding, and (2) finding he was procedurally barred from raising his N.D.R.Crim.P. 11 claims under misuse of process and res judicata. Atkins also argued the district court abused its discretion by finding he did not meet the burden required to show the existence of newly discovered evidence in his motion for a new trial. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "North Dakota v. Atkins" on Justia Law

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Joshua Michael Peterson appealed from an order denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. In 2015, the State filed a complaint charging Peterson with class B felony burglary. After review of the issues raised on appeal, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Peterson’s motion. View "North Dakota v. Peterson" on Justia Law

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Jessy Olson appeals a district court order denying his application for postconviction relief. In May 2015, Olson and others were involved in a fight outside a bar in Fargo. Three individuals sustained serious injuries, including Joey Gaarsland, who later died from his injuries. Olson was arrested and charged with murder and three counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. Olson argued on appeal: (1) accomplice to murder was not a cognizable offense; and (2) he received ineffective assistance of counsel and his guilty pleas to the charges of accomplice to murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault were not voluntary. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Olson v. North Dakota" on Justia Law

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Brent Vigen appealed a criminal judgment entered after his conditional guilty plea to driving under the influence. Vigen argued the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress after the court’s finding that a modified implied consent advisory satisfied the requirements of N.D.C.C. 39-20-01(3)(a). The North Dakota Supreme Court agreed and reversed judgment. The matter was remanded for further proceedings to allow Vigen to withdraw his guilty plea. View "North Dakota v. Vigen" on Justia Law

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Drew Sutton appealed a district court judgment affirming the Department of Transportation hearing officer’s decision revoking Sutton’s driver’s license for 180 days. Sutton argued the Report and Notice did not include a statement of reasonable grounds for why the police officer believed Sutton was driving under the influence of alcohol or why he believed Sutton’s body contained alcohol. Sutton argued both alleged failures fall below the statutory requirements. He also argued there was no evidence that he affirmatively refused the onsite screening test. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the district court judgment affirming the hearing officer’s decision. View "Sutton v. N.D. Dept. of Transportation" on Justia Law

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Edward Morales appealed a district court order summarily dismissing his application for post-conviction relief. Morales was driving a mini-van in an RV park when he collided with a goose-neck trailer. His wife, a passenger in the mini-van, died as a result of this collision. A blood test indicated Morales had a 0.209 percent blood alcohol concentration. Morales was charged with a class A felony of causing a death while operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in violation of N.D.C.C. 39-08-01.2(1). Morales conditionally pled guilty to causing his wife’s death while operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In his application for post-conviction relief, he alleged he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court summarily dismissed the application, reasoning that Morales had raised only conclusory allegations and generic claims. Finding no reversible error in that decision, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order. View "Morales v. North Dakota" on Justia Law

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Dylan Vetter appealed after he entered a conditional guilty plea to possession of controlled substances and drug paraphernalia. Vetter argued the deputy sheriff who stopped him for speeding lacked reasonable suspicion to believe Vetter’s car contained contraband and unlawfully expanded the scope of the traffic stop by inquiring whether there were any illegal items in Vetter’s vehicle and by conducting a canine sniff around the car. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed, concluding the district court did not err in denying Vetter’s motion to suppress evidence because the stop was not expanded in violation of the Fourth Amendment. View "North Dakota v. Vetter" on Justia Law

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Randy Jensen appeals from a district court order denying and dismissing his application for post-conviction relief. In June 2016, Jensen resolved three criminal cases by pleading guilty to several charges pursuant to a plea agreement under N.D.R.Crim.P. 11(c), and several charges were dismissed. In July 2016, Jensen appealed the criminal judgments and was assigned court-appointed counsel. In September 2016, Jensen’s court-appointed counsel filed a stipulation to withdraw and dismiss the appeals, signed by Jensen and his court-appointed counsel. In October 2016, Jensen, through counsel, filed a motion for reduction of sentence under N.D.R.Crim.P. 35(b) in each case. The district court denied his motions. In November 2016, Jensen filed a pro se motion to withdraw his guilty plea in each case. The court denied his motions. In December 2016, Jensen filed an amended motion in each case to withdraw his guilty pleas under N.D.R.Crim.P. 11(d). In February 2017, the court denied his motions following a hearing. In April 2017, Jensen, pro se, filed a motion for credit for time served. The court denied his motion. After the court issued its order denying his motion, court-appointed counsel requested and was granted a hearing to address Jensen’s motion for credit for time served. Following that hearing, the court again denied his motion for credit for time served. In March 2018, Jensen, pro se, applied for post-conviction relief alleging ineffective assistance of counsel as his only ground for relief. The State moved to dismiss based on res judicata and misuse of process. The State’s motion was granted. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order denying Jensen’s application for post-conviction relief. View "Jensen v. North Dakota" on Justia Law

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J.M. appealed a district court order denying his petition for discharge and continuing his commitment as a sexually dangerous individual. J.M. was civilly committed as a sexually dangerous individual in October 2005 at the end of his incarceration for a 2001 conviction for gross sexual imposition involving a nine-year-old victim. J.M. unsuccessfully petitioned for discharge several times and has appealed his commitment on four prior occasions. He argued this time the State did not prove by clear and convincing evidence his antisocial personality disorder and sexual disorder were likely to result in a serious difficulty in controlling his behavior. Based on this record, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the State did not establish clear and convincing evidence of a nexus between J.M.’s disorder and his sexual dangerousness to others, and reversed. View "Matter of J.M." on Justia Law