Recent Opinions

State v. Alberts 2019 ND 66
Docket No.: 20180187
Filing Date: 3/13/2019
Case Type: HOMICIDE
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: Issues raised for the first time on appeal will not be considered unless they rise to the level of obvious error.
An unambiguous oral sentencing pronouncement will control over an ambiguous written sentence.
The district court has discretion in sentencing a criminal defendant, and review of a sentence on appeal is limited to determining whether the district court acted within the limits prescribed by statute or substantially relied on an impermissible factor.

State v. Thorsteinson 2019 ND 65
Docket No.: 20180233
Filing Date: 3/13/2019
Case Type: MISC. STATUTORY OFFENSE (FELONY)
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith, but may be admissible to show motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.

In considering whether evidence of prior crimes, wrongs, or bad acts is admissible, a court must determine: (1) the purpose for which the evidence is introduced; (2) whether the evidence of the prior bad acts is substantially reliable or clear and convincing; and (3) whether proof of the crime charged permits the trier of fact to establish the defendant’s guilt or innocence independently on the evidence presented without considering the prior bad acts.

A court must give a cautionary instruction about the limited use of prior bad acts evidence, and must examine whether the probative value of the evidence substantially outweighs its possible prejudicial effect.

Jury instructions must correctly and adequately inform the jury of applicable law and it is not error to refuse to give defendant’s jury instruction if it may mislead or confuse the jury.

Interest of M.M. 2019 ND 64
Docket No.: 20180122
Filing Date: 3/13/2019
Case Type: JUVENILE LAW (Criminal)
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: We review a juvenile court’s findings of fact under the clearly erroneous standard.

A juvenile court’s interpretation of a statute is a question of law, which is fully reviewable on appeal.

Under N.D.R.Juv.P. 2(a)(3)(A), if an initial hearing is held within 30 days after the filing of the petition, an adjudication hearing must occur within 30 days after the initial hearing. If there is no initial hearing, the adjudication hearing must occur within 30 days after the filing of the petition.

Gonzales v. WSI 2019 ND 63
Docket No.: 20180365
Filing Date: 3/13/2019
Case Type: WORKERS COMPENSATION
Author: Per Curiam

Highlight: District court judgment affirming a Workforce Safety and Insurance order denying workplace injury benefits is summarily affirmed under N.D.R.App.P. 35.1(a)(5).

White v. State 2019 ND 62
Docket No.: 20180307
Filing Date: 3/13/2019
Case Type: POST-CONVICTION RELIEF
Author: Per Curiam

Highlight: District court’s finding that applicant for post-conviction relief failed to establish his counsel’s representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness was not clearly erroneous.

Interest of C.H. 2019 ND 61
Docket No.: 20190018
Filing Date: 3/13/2019
Case Type: TERMINATION/PARENTAL RIGHTS
Author: Per Curiam

Highlight: Juvenile court’s finding that the children were exposed to aggravated circumstances was not clearly erroneous.

Miles v. Holznagel, et al. 2019 ND 60
Docket No.: 20180388
Filing Date: 3/13/2019
Case Type: CHILD CUST & SUPPORT (Div.\Other)
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: A district court’s orders changing primary residential responsibility, denying a motion for continuance and denying a motion for a new trial are summarily affirmed under N.D.R.App.P. 35.1(a)(2),(3) and(4).

State v. Gomez 2019 ND 59
Docket No.: 20180364
Filing Date: 3/13/2019
Case Type: SEXUAL OFFENSE
Author: Per Curiam

Highlight: Summary affirmance of district court’s revocation of probation and resentencing.

Trust of Linn 2019 ND 58
Docket No.: 20180206
Filing Date: 2/28/2019
Case Type: PROBATE - WILLS - TRUSTS
Author: Jensen, Jon J.

Highlight: The primary objective in construing a trust instrument is to ascertain the settlor’s intent.
When a trust instrument is unambiguous, the settlor’s intent is ascertained from the language of the trust document itself.
An ambiguity exists when rational arguments can be made in support of contrary positions as to the meaning of the term, phrase, or clause in question.
Whether a trust is ambiguous is a question of law, fully reviewable on appeal.

Robert Banderet,et al. vs. Sargent Count Water Resource District, et al. 2019 ND 57
Docket No.: 20180253
Filing Date: 2/26/2019
Case Type: REAL PROPERTY
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: In general, when an appeal from a local governing body’s decision is authorized by law, equitable relief against the enforcement of the decision will not be allowed.
An appeal of a local governing body’s decision must be taken within 30 days of the decision.

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