State v. Neilan
- State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellant
Bradley M. Neilan, Defendant and Appellee
- Case Type
- CRIMINAL APPEAL : DRUGS/CONTRABAND
- Appeal From
Case No. 2019-CR-03416
South Central Judicial District, Burleigh County
Bobbi Brown Weiler
Parties' Statement of Issues
(1) Whether relief under N.D.R.Crim.P. 35(b) from a plea agreement made pursuant to N.D.R.Crim.P. 11(c)(1)(C) should be limited to exceptional cases and, if so, whether this is such a case where N.D.R.Crim. 35(b) relief is warranted.
(2) Whether the district court abused its discretion in reducing the Neilan’s sentence under Rule 35(b), where the district court filed its own Rule 35(b) motion the day after it ordered judgment to be entered pursuant to a binding plea agreement that included a specific sentence.
I. Whether the State has standing to appeal the District Court’s Order granting the Court’s Rule 35(b) Motion for Sentence Reduction.
II. If this Court finds the State does have standing, whether the statutory language of N.D.R.Crim.P. Rule 35 is unambiguous and the District Court’s actions were correct under the law.
III. If this Court finds the State does have standing and N.D.R.Crim.P. Rule 35 is ambiguous, whether the supposed ambiguity in how N.D.R.Crim.P. Rule 35 and Rule 11 interact should be construed in favor of Neilan.
IV. Whether the Semler case forecloses the District Court’s action in this case.
1. Whether the Semler decision is binding on the District Court or this Court and whether policy reasons argue against its adoption.
2. Whether this Court should consider extrinsic evidence outside of N.D.R.Crim.P. Rule 35.
3. If this Court is inclined to adopt the holding in Semler that a defendant’s sentence shall only be reduced in exceptional circumstances, whether the District Court found that exceptional circumstances exist in the present matter.
V. If this Court finds the State does have standing, whether the drafters’ legislative intent is to permit Courts on their own Motion to reduce sentences within 120 days under N.D.R.Crim.P. Rule 35 after the same court imposed the original sentence under N.D.R.Crim.P. Rule 11.
VI. If this Court finds the State does have standing, whether the District Court accepting a binding plea agreement and subsequently reducing Neilan’s sentence to probation under N.D.R.Crim.P. Rule 35(b) is an abuse of discretion.
VII. If this Court finds the State does have standing and the District Court unilaterally accepting a binding plea agreement and subsequently reducing Neilan’s sentence to probation under N.D.R.Crim.P. Rule 35(b) was an abuse of discretion, whether reversal is warranted.
The State of North Dakota appeals from an order reducing Bradley Neilan’s sentence after a plea agreement was entered.
In 2019, Neilan was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. In 2021, the State and Neilan reached a plea agreement in which the firearm enhancements were dropped, thereby removing the mandatory minimum sentence. On February 10, 2021, the district court signed and entered the plea agreement. Later that day, the court filed a N.D.R.Crim.P. 35(b) motion to consider reducing Neilan’s sentence from incarceration to probation. On February 12, 2021, after both parties briefed the issue, the court reduced Neilan’s sentence from incarceration to probation.
On appeal, the State argues Rule 35(b) relief is limited to exceptional cases, and the district court abused its discretion by reducing Neilan’s sentence and circumventing N.D.R.Crim.P. 11 after it accepted the plea agreement. Neilan argues the State does not have standing to appeal, the interpretation of Rule 35 favors the defendant, and the district court did not abuse its discretion.
(Note: Attachments may not be available for recently filed cases and/or confidential documents.)
|Seq. #||Filing Date||Description||Attachment|
|1||02/25/2021||NOTICE OF APPEAL : 02/25/2021|
|2||02/25/2021||ORDER FOR TRANSCRIPT : 02/26/2021|
|3||02/26/2021||NOT. OF FILING NOT. OF APPEAL AND PROOF OF SERV.|
|4||02/26/2021||Notice served on Dennis H. Ingold & Philip Becher|
|5||03/24/2021||ELEC. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED MARCH 23, 2021 (ENTRY NOS.1-85)|
|6||04/23/2021||ELECTRONIC TRANSCRIPT DATED FEBRUARY 9, 2021|
|8||04/26/2021||ELECTRONIC TRANSCRIPT DATED DECEMBER 16, 2019|
|11||06/04/2021||Oral Argument Request by Appellant|
|13||06/04/2021||Rec'd Written Consent of Dennis Ingold for Jamie Schaible, Law Student|
|14||06/08/2021||Rec'd 4 copies of ATB & ATA from CSD|
|17||07/06/2021||Oral Argument Request by Appellee|
|18||07/09/2021||Rec'd 4 copies of AEB & AEA from CSD|
|20||07/22/2021||Rec'd 4 copies of RYB from CSD|
|21||08/05/2021||NOTICE OF ORAL ARGUMENT SENT|