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State v. Jennewein

Supreme Court of North Dakota

August 5, 2015

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
Tyler James Jennewein, Defendant and Appellant; City of Grand Forks, Plaintiff and Appellee
Tyler James Jennewein, Defendant and Appellant

Page 666

Appeal from the District Court of Grand Forks County, Northeast Central Judicial District, the Honorable Lawrence E. Jahnke, Judge.

Carmell F. Mattison, Grand Forks County State's Attorney Office, and Aaron Weber (on brief), under the Rule on Limited Practice of Law by Law Students, Grand Forks, for plaintiff and appellee.

Sarah W. Gereszek, City Attorney, Grand Forks, for plaintiff and appellee.

Kiara C. Kraus-Parr, Grand Forks, N.D., for defendant and appellant.

Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Dale V. Sandstrom, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.


Page 667

Daniel J. Crothers, Justice.

[¶1] Tyler James Jennewein appeals from criminal judgments entered on jury verdicts finding him guilty of class A misdemeanor driving under the influence of liquor or drugs and class B misdemeanor driving under suspension. Because we conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion in its challenged rulings and did not misapply the law, we affirm.


[¶2] During the early morning hours of October 5, 2013, a Grand Forks police officer stopped a vehicle after observing it screech to a halt at an intersection, causing a group of people to jump out of the crosswalk. The officer approached the vehicle and found Jennewein sitting in the front passenger seat. While the officer spoke with Jennewein, Jennewein's girlfriend ran up to the vehicle and sat in the driver's seat. The officer went to the driver's side of the vehicle to speak with Jennewein's girlfriend and noticed a glass marijuana pipe lying on the ground below the driver's side window. Jennewein denied driving the vehicle, Jennewein's girlfriend said she had been driving and neither Jennewein nor his girlfriend claimed possession of the pipe. The officer returned to the passenger side of the vehicle and observed that Jennewein exhibited signs of intoxication. After Jennewein performed field sobriety tests, the officer placed him under arrest for driving under the influence, driving under suspension and possession of drug paraphernalia.

[¶3] Jennewein's first trial in July 2014 resulted in a mistrial. A second trial was held on September 30 and October 1, 2014. Jennewein's defense was that he was not the driver of the vehicle, his girlfriend

Page 668

was the driver and the paraphernalia was not his. Jennewein's girlfriend testified as a witness for the prosecution and on cross-examination admitted she was the driver of the vehicle. Jennewein rested without testifying or presenting any evidence. The jury found Jennewein guilty of driving under the influence and driving under suspension, but not guilty of possessing drug paraphernalia. The conviction was Jennewein's third alcohol-related driving offense within seven years, and his sentence included one year of supervised probation with one year of participation in the 24/7 sobriety program.


[¶4] Jennewein argues the district court erred in allowing the prosecution to introduce into evidence two certified copies of criminal driving under the influence judgments because the prosecution failed to disclose the documents prior to trial in violation of N.D.R.Crim.P. 16.

[¶5] The criminal information charged that the October 5, 2013, incident was Jennewein's " third offense in seven years," making the crime a class A misdemeanor. See N.D.C.C. § 39-08-01(3). On December 10, 2013, Jennewein made a " continuing" request for discovery from the State, including his " criminal record." Jennewein received a driver abstract issued by the Department of Transportation. At the first trial, Jennewein stipulated this charge would be a third offense and the jury instructions did not include as an element of the crime proof of the prior convictions. Before the second trial, the prosecution submitted identical proposed jury instructions and Jennewein requested pattern jury instructions which did not require proof of the two prior convictions to establish the class A misdemeanor level of the offense. At a final dispositional conference on September 26, 2014, Jennewein's attorney informed the court and the prosecution she was not stipulating to " everything," but did not mention she was no longer stipulating to the prior offenses.

[¶6] On the first day of trial the prosecution learned Jennewein would not stipulate to the two prior offenses. That same day the prosecution acquired certified copies of criminal judgments from Grand Forks Municipal Court and Clay County, Minnesota. The prosecution informed the district court it would be amending the jury instructions to require proof of the prior convictions as an element of the offense. On the second day of trial, Jennewein objected to admission of the certified copies of the convictions on the ground the prosecution violated its discovery obligations because " they've had a year to get me this information [and] they've ...

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