TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
RE: Rule 44, N.D.R.Crim.P., Right to and Appointment of Counsel
The United States Supreme Court recently decided the case of Alabama v. Shelton. In the case, the Court concluded that a criminal defendant has a Sixth Amendment right to counsel in a misdemeanor trial if the defendant faces a "term of imprisonment," which would include a suspended sentence of imprisonment. Staff attorney Jim Ganje prepared a memo, attached, analyzing the impact of this decision on North Dakota practice.
Mr. Ganje concluded that the terms of N.D.R.Crim.P. 44 are consistent with the Shelton decision, but that Shelton should be taken into account when interpreting Rule 44's terms. Staff has prepared proposed amendments to Rule 44's explanatory note which include this interpretive guidance.