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Chisholm v. State

Supreme Court of North Dakota

December 1, 2015

Rodney Chisholm, Petitioner and Appellant
v.
State of North Dakota, Defendant and Appellee

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

Nicholas D. Thornton, Fargo, N.D., for petitioner and appellant.

M. Jason McCarthy (argued) and Meredith H. Larson (appeared), Assistant State's Attorneys, Grand Forks County State's Attorney's Office, Grand Forks, N.D., for defendant and appellee.

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

OPINION

Dale V. Sandstrom, Justice.

[¶1] Rodney Chisholm, convicted of murder in 2011, appeals from a district court order denying his application for post-conviction relief requesting a new trial, arguing the district court erred in denying his application. He claims his counsel was ineffective and argues the district court erred in failing to address all of the issues he raised post-conviction. We conclude the district court's decision to deny Chisholm post-conviction relief was supported by the evidence, and we affirm the district court's order.

I

[¶2] In 2011, Chisholm was convicted of the murder of his brother and was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment. Chisholm appealed, and his conviction was affirmed. State v. Chisholm, 2012 ND 147, 818 N.W.2d 707.

[¶3] In 2013, Chisholm, on his own, applied for post-conviction relief, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. He claimed his attorney, Steven Light, failed to present evidence about the victim's recent prior bad acts, his attorney had a drug addiction problem which affected his representation during the trial and the appeal, his attorney failed to challenge the admission of his confession, his attorney failed to adequately challenge the search of his property, and his attorney failed to object to instances of prosecutorial misconduct. The district court summarily dismissed Chisholm's application. On appeal, we concluded the district court erred in summarily dismissing the application, and reversed and remanded for further proceedings. Chisholm v. State, 2014 ND 125, 848 N.W.2d 703.

[¶4] On remand, Chisholm filed an amended brief setting forth five issues regarding his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. After an evidentiary hearing, the district court denied post-conviction relief.

[¶5] The district court had jurisdiction under N.D. Const. art. VI, § 8, and N.D.C.C. § 29-32.1-03. The appeal was timely under N.D.R.App.P. 4(d). This Court has jurisdiction under N.D. Const. art. VI, § § 2 and 6, and N.D.C.C. § 29-32.1-14.

II

[¶6] On appeal, Chisholm argues the district court erred in denying his application for post-conviction relief. He claims his counsel was ineffective because (1) he failed to challenge Chisholm's confession at trial, which he claims was obtained in violation of Miranda v. Arizona,384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966); (2) he failed to raise or present the Miranda issue for this Court's review on appeal; (3) he failed to present expert testimony regarding Chisholm's psychological condition and state of mind at trial; (4) he did not adequately advise Chisholm on lesser included offenses; and (5) he failed to investigate and present ...


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