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State ex rel Harris v. Lee

May 11, 2010

STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA, EX REL. CHRISTENE A. HARRIS IN HER CAPACITY AS ASSISTANT WARD COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY, PETITIONER
v.
THE HONORABLE GARY H. LEE, JUDGE OF THE DISTRICT COURT, NORTHWEST JUDICIAL DISTRICT, AND LEROY A. ANDERSON, JR., RESPONDENTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandstrom, Justice.

Petition for Supervisory Writ.

SUPERVISORY WRIT GRANTED.

[¶1] The State has petitioned for a supervisory writ, requesting that we direct the district court to recognize it has jurisdiction over a class B misdemeanor charge of driving while under suspension which occurred within the city limits of the City of Minot. We grant the petition, concluding the district court had jurisdiction over the offense.

I.

[¶2] A North Dakota highway patrol officer stopped LeRoy Anderson, Jr., for speeding within the city limits of Minot. The officer learned Anderson's driver's license was suspended and issued a citation charging him with driving while under suspension in violation of N.D.C.C. § 39-06-42, a class B misdemeanor. The caption at the top of the citation indicated the case would be heard in the district court of Ward County.

[¶3] At his initial appearance on the charge, Anderson pleaded guilty. Before the court accepted the plea, the assistant state's attorney provided a factual basis, noting the traffic stop had occurred within the Minot city limits. The court then questioned whether it had jurisdiction:

THE COURT: Let's go back to that very first part of that factual basis.

MS. HARRIS [assistant state's attorney]: Mm-hmm?

THE COURT: Was the highway patrolman who stopped Mr. Anderson inside the city limits for a Class B misdemeanor?

MS. HARRIS: Correct, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Why is this not in city court?

....

THE COURT: And this is a B misdemeanor-

MS. HARRIS: Correct.

THE COURT: -that occurred within the city. And so if it's a B misdemeanor within the city, why isn't this being ...


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