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Ramsey v. State

Supreme Court of North Dakota

July 18, 2013

Terry D. Ramsey, Petitioner and Appellant
v.
State of North Dakota, Respondent and Appellee

Appeal from the District Court of Griggs County, Southeast Judicial District, the Honorable James D. Hovey, Judge.

Blake D. Hankey (argued) and Kelsey Lee Gentzkow (appeared), for petitioner and appellant.

Jonathan R. Byers, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent and appellee.

OPINION

Maring, Justice

[¶ 1] Terry Ramsey appeals the trial court's order denying his post-conviction relief application. We conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting Ramsey's post-conviction relief application based on newly discovered evidence. We affirm.

I

[¶ 2] In 2003, Terry Ramsey was found guilty of one count of gross sexual imposition for sexually abusing his half-sister's daughter, "Jane, " a pseudonym. Terry Ramsey appealed the judgment of conviction, and we affirmed. See State v. Ramsey, 2005 ND 42, ¶ 35, 692 N.W.2d 498.

[¶ 3] In Ramsey, this Court set forth the relevant facts underlying Terry Ramsey's criminal conviction:

Terry Ramsey... and his brother Neil Ramsey... were separated in childhood from their half-sister. The brothers were reunited with their sister and her two daughters in the late 1990's and began to spend time together as a family. In mid-June of 2001, [Jane]..., then age 10, and her sister spent a week with [Terry] Ramsey and his brother at the Ramsey family farm in North Dakota. On June 16, the girls returned to their home in Wyoming for a few weeks before joining [Terry] Ramsey and his family at their home in Florida on July 4, 2001.
While in Florida, Ramsey's wife, Valerie Ramsey..., discovered [Terry] Ramsey in a locked bathroom with Jane. [Terry] Ramsey was touching Jane's vaginal area while applying a yeast infection medication that she frequently applied to herself without assistance. Valerie [Ramsey] confronted [Terry] Ramsey, and after a brief argument, [Terry] Ramsey left the family home. The next day, Jane told Valerie [Ramsey] that [Terry] Ramsey had touched her breasts and vagina on more than one occasion during the week she spent in North Dakota. Jane said that [Terry] Ramsey explained the touching by claiming he thought Jane was his wife and that he told her if she told anyone she would not be allowed to travel to Florida.
Valerie [Ramsey] then notified Jane's mother, who asked that Valerie [Ramsey] report the situation to the local police. Both the North Dakota and Florida incidents were reported to local authorities in Florida, including a deputy sheriff and a sex crimes investigator. After being advised to do so by officials in Florida, Jane's mother reported the situation to the appropriate authorities in North Dakota. A warrant was issued in North Dakota, and [Terry] Ramsey was arrested.
[Terry] Ramsey signed a written plea agreement causing the cancellation of his initial trial scheduled for March 2003. At the July 14, 2003, sentencing hearing, however, [Terry] Ramsey refused to plead guilty and the trial was rescheduled for December 2003. [Terry] Ramsey was tried by a jury in December 2003. In addition to Jane's own testimony, the trial court allowed Jane's mother, Jane's aunt, a Florida deputy sheriff, and a Florida sex crimes investigator to testify as to what Jane had told them about [Terry] Ramsey's actions. The jury returned a guilty verdict.

2005 ND 42, ¶¶ 2-5, 692 N.W.2d 498.

[ΒΆ 4] On August 2, 2011, Terry Ramsey applied for post-conviction relief alleging he was entitled to vacation of his criminal judgment based on newly discovered evidence and ineffective assistance of counsel. Terry Ramsey alleged a letter he received from Jane, in approximately May 2011, recanting her trial testimony was newly discovered evidence entitling him to vacation of his criminal judgment. The letter written by Jane and sent from Terry Ramsey's ...


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