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State v. Hager

November 9, 2010

STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE
v.
BRUCE A. HAGER, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT



Appeal from the District Court of Cass County, East Central Judicial District, the Honorable Wickham Corwin, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kapsner, Justice

AFFIRMED.

[¶1] Bruce Hager appeals from a district court order revoking his probation. Hager argues the district court erred in finding he violated the conditions of his probation by committing the criminal offense of acting as an unregistered agent. We affirm.

I.

[¶2] In December 2007, Hager plead guilty to four counts of selling unregistered securities, a class B felony, and four counts of acting as an unregistered agent, a class B felony. Hager was sentenced to one year of incarceration. Six months of his sentence was suspended for a period of ten years, and he was permitted to serve the balance of the sentence on electronic home monitoring. The court also ordered ten years of supervised probation. The court ordered the standard probation conditions, including that Hager not commit any further criminal offenses and that he not possess firearms.

[¶3] While Hager was on electronic home monitoring and probation, he worked for and rented office space to RAHFCO Management Group, LLC. RAHFCO issues securities that meet the requirements for exemption from federal registration under 17 C.F.R. § 230.506, which is also known as Rule 506 or Regulation D exemption. Hager owns one percent of the "member units" of RAHFCO.

[¶4] In November 2008, Hager's probation officer filed a petition for revocation of Hager's probation, and an amended petition was filed in March 2009. The amended petition alleged twenty-five violations, including possession of firearms, unlawfully acting as an unregistered agent, and committing the criminal offense of securities fraud.

[¶5] During a November 16, 2009, revocation hearing, Hager admitted he possessed firearms in violation of the conditions of his probation and the securities fraud allegation was dismissed. Hager denied the other allegations and argued he was not engaged in any activity that would require him to register as an agent. The court found Hager possessed firearms and unlawfully acted as an unregistered agent in violation of the conditions of his probation. The court revoked Hager's probation. After a hearing, the court resentenced Hager to thirty months in prison for eight of the violations with the sentences for each violation running concurrently.

II.

[¶6] When we review a district court's decision to revoke probation, we apply a two-step analysis:

First, we review the district court's factual finding of a probation violation under the clearly erroneous standard. A finding of fact is clearly erroneous when it is induced by an erroneous view of the law, when there is no evidence to support it, or if, although there is some evidence to support it, on the entire evidence, the court is left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made. Second, we determine whether the district court abused its discretion when it decided that revocation of probation was warranted. A district court abuses its discretion when it acts in an arbitrary, unreasonable, unconscionable, or capricious manner, or if its decision is not the product of a rational mental process leading to a reasoned determination, or if it misinterprets or misapplies the law. State v. Jacobsen, 2008 ND 52, ¶ 8, 746 N.W.2d 405 (quotations and citations omitted).

A.

[¶7] The State claims it is unnecessary to address Hager's challenges to the district court's findings about the violations for unlawfully acting as an unregistered agent because a single violation is sufficient to sustain revocation of probation and Hager admitted he violated the conditions of his probation by possessing firearms.

[¶8] We have said "the State need show only a single violation to sustain revocation of probation," and we do not need to consider whether a court's findings about other violations are clearly erroneous to affirm the court's decision to revoke probation. Jacobsen, 2008 ND 52, ¶ 15, 746 N.W.2d 405.

[ΒΆ9] Hager admitted he possessed firearms in violation of the conditions of his probation, and he does not challenge the court's findings about that violation on appeal. However, it is not clear from the record that the court would have resentenced Hager the same way if it had only found ...


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