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Bankers posted a $25,000 bail bond for the defendant for misdemeanor charges. Defendant had a court date of July 19, at 1:30 p.m. On July 19, during the afternoon session, the trial court stated on the record that defense counsel "just walked in at 3:40. He indicates that he called, and he didn’t leave his name…. five minutes ago, I issued warrants …. Now that [defense counsel] has appeared, … the bench warrant issued is recalled.... The bond is reinstated since we never sent notice ... no fault of the defendant’s and no costs.” The box on the minute order for “Bail Forfeited” appears to have been checked and then crossed out; the order indicates the court gave the defendant a new court date and did not order a bench warrant. On October 25, neither the defendant nor his attorney appeared. The trial court forfeited the bail bond; the clerk mailed a notice of bail forfeiture the following day. In May 2017, Bankers moved to vacate the bond forfeiture and exonerate the bail bond based on the clerk’s failure to mail a notice of forfeiture following the July 19 hearing, Penal Code 1305(b). The court of appeal affirmed the denial of Bankers’ motion. The trial court retained jurisdiction over the bond. A trial court may correct a finding of forfeiture, just as it may correct other matters brought to its attention, during a calendar session. View "People v. Bankers Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, convicted of murder and sentenced to death, sought habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254, alleging that his lawyer provided ineffective assistance of counsel. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's grant of relief based on petitioner's mitigation claim. The court held that the district court erred by deciding Strickland prejudice de novo without finding that the state court's decision was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts and with no basis to say that the state court unreasonably applied Strickland v. Washington. Furthermore, the district court failed to presume that the state courts' findings of fact were correct, which the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act requires. Finally, the court affirmed the denial of relief based on counsel's failure to object when petitioner testified before the jury during the penalty phase in shackles. View "Whatley v. Warden, Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center" on Justia Law

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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