Opinions

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City of Bismarck v. Vagts 2019 ND 224
Docket No.: 20190026
Filing Date: 8/22/2019
Case Type: DUI/DUS
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: A law enforcement officer’s approach of a parked vehicle is not a seizure if the officer inquires of the occupant in a conversational manner, does not order the person do something, and does not demand a response.

An officer’s encounter with a person may lead to a seizure if the officer learns something during the encounter that leads to a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and that reasonably justifies further investigation, a seizure, or an arrest.

The results of a chemical test are not admissible in a criminal proceeding if an officer does not substantively comply with the applicable statutory requirements of the implied consent advisory.

Kalmio v. State 2019 ND 223
Docket No.: 20190051
Filing Date: 8/22/2019
Case Type: POST-CONVICTION RELIEF
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: Whether a petitioner received ineffective assistance of counsel is a mixed question of law and fact and is fully reviewable on appeal. Under N.D.R.Civ.P. 52(a), the district court’s findings of fact will not be disturbed on appeal unless clearly erroneous.

To show prejudice for ineffective assistance of counsel in a direct appeal, there must be a reasonable probability the appellate counsel’s errors changed the result of the direct appeal.

Absent specific instructions, a district court deciding an issue on remand must exercise its discretion when determining the procedure to follow. A district court’s decision whether to take additional evidence will be reversed only if the court abused its discretion.

State v. Hoehn 2019 ND 222
Docket No.: 20180400
Filing Date: 8/22/2019
Case Type: HOMICIDE
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: For a defendant to qualify as a dangerous special offender, the prior and current offenses must be similar. To determine whether two offenses are similar, the court must compare the elements of the two statutes and may also compare the conduct underlying the two offenses. If neither the elements nor the facts of the prior offense are similar to those of the current offense, the defendant does not qualify as a dangerous special offender.

Nelson, et al. v. Nelson, et al. 2019 ND 221
Docket No.: 20180421
Filing Date: 8/22/2019
Case Type: OTHER (Civil)
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: A district court has broad discretion to impose sanctions for discovery abuses, including striking pleadings or dismissing claims.
The district court has inherent authority to award attorney’s fees as a sanction for a litigant’s misconduct.
The district court’s valuation of a partnership that is within the range of evidence presented to the court is not clearly erroneous.

WSI v. Taylor, et al. 2019 ND 220
Docket No.: 20190059
Filing Date: 8/22/2019
Case Type: WORKERS COMPENSATION
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: Courts must construe statutes to give meaning to them in their entirety if possible.

A functional capacity evaluation is “valid” for purposes of N.D.C.C. § 65-05.1-01(6) if the employee gives a maximum consistent effort during the examination.

North Dakota Private Investigative and Security Board v. TigerSwan, LLC, et al. 2019 ND 219
Docket No.: 20180338
Filing Date: 8/22/2019
Case Type: OTHER (Civil)
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: A district court’s denial of a request for additional time for discovery will not be overturned on appeal unless the court abused its discretion.
The granting of injunctive relief is equitable in nature and rests in the sound discretion of the district court, and we will not reverse a court’s ruling on injunctive relief unless that discretion has been abused.
Words in a statute are given their plain, ordinary and commonly understood meaning.
A claim for relief is frivolous if there is such a complete absence of facts or law a reasonable person could not have expected a court would render a judgment in that person’s favor.

State v. Kenny 2019 ND 218
Docket No.: 20190030
Filing Date: 8/22/2019
Case Type: MISC. STATUTORY OFF. (MISDEMEANOR)
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: The constitutionality of a statute is a question of law, and the statute will be upheld unless its challenger can demonstrate the statute’s unconstitutionality. The doctrine of overbreadth prohibits a law from criminalizing constitutionally protected activity.
A temporary restraining order, which may be issued ex parte without a hearing, is a species of injunction, typically brief in duration, that has as its purpose maintaining the status quo until a determination can be made on the temporary injunction issue.
A conviction rests upon insufficient evidence only when no rational fact finder could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution and giving the prosecution the benefit of all inferences reasonably to be drawn in its favor.

In re Anderson 2019 ND 217
Docket No.: 20180424
Filing Date: 8/22/2019
Case Type: CERTIFIED QUESTION OF LAW (Civil)
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: The Court answers a certified question from the Federal Bankruptcy Court regarding the application of the homestead exemption as applied to property held in joint tenancy by debtor and nondebtor spouse.

State v. Casson 2019 ND 216
Docket No.: 20190028
Filing Date: 8/22/2019
Case Type: DRUGS/CONTRABAND
Author: Jensen, Jon J.

Highlight: Although a law enforcement officer’s encounter with the occupant of a vehicle and indication that a K-9 unit would be called to “sniff” the vehicle was a seizure, the intrusion of the occupant’s Fourth Amendment rights was warranted and scope of the intrusion was reasonably related to the circumstances which justified the intrusion.

State v. Poulor 2019 ND 215
Docket No.: 20190017
Filing Date: 8/22/2019
Case Type: SEXUAL OFFENSE
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: The admission into evidence of a witness’s out-of-court testimonial statements does not violate the Confrontation Clause if a defendant has an opportunity to cross-examine a witness at trial.

Rule 803(24), N.D.R.Ev., provides an exception to the rule against hearsay for a child’s statement about sexual abuse, regardless of whether the declarant is available as a witness.

A conviction will be reversed on appeal on the ground of insufficient evidence only if, after viewing the evidence and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the verdict, no rational factfinder could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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