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State v. Williams

Supreme Court of North Dakota

December 22, 2015

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Adrian Scott Williams, Defendant and Appellant

Appeal from the District Court of Stutsman County, Southeast Judicial District, the Honorable John E. Greenwood, Judge.

Frederick R. Fremgen, State's Attorney, Jamestown, N.D., for plaintiff and appellee.

Lee M. Grossman, Valley City, N.D., for defendant and appellant.

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

OPINION

Carol Ronning Kapsner, Justice.

[¶1] Adrian Williams appeals from a criminal judgment entered after a jury found him guilty of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, and two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Williams argues the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence and his request for a complete transcript of the suppression hearing. We conclude the district court abused its discretion in denying his transcript request, and we reverse and remand.

I

[¶2] In March 2013, Williams was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance with an intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia,

Page 14

and possession of a controlled substance, after police officers searched his hotel room and vehicle. Williams applied for indigent defense services, and the district court appointed counsel to represent him.

[¶3] Williams moved to suppress evidence, arguing the search of his hotel room and vehicle violated his constitutional rights. He argued the officers' warrantless entry and search of his hotel room was illegal, no exceptions to the warrant requirement applied to the search, a search warrant obtained after the initial illegal entry and search did not correct the illegality, and misleading and inaccurate information was used to obtain the search warrant. He also claimed officers did not have probable cause to conduct a canine walk-around of his vehicle, and information from the walk-around was used to obtain the search warrant.

[¶4] After a January 2, 2014, hearing, the district court denied Williams' motion to suppress. On January 8, 2014, Williams requested a partial transcript of the suppression hearing, including testimony from certain witnesses. He later amended the request to include testimony from additional witnesses. The district court did not enter an order on the request and a partial transcript of the hearing is not included in the record.

[¶5] A jury found Williams guilty on all four counts, and a criminal judgment was entered in February 2015. Williams appealed from the judgment and requested a transcript of the jury trial, which was prepared. Williams was granted indigent defense counsel for his appeal.

[¶6] On July 2, 2015, Williams requested transcripts of various pretrial hearings, including the suppression hearing. On July 15, 2015, the district court partially granted his request, but denied his request for a transcript of the suppression hearing, stating a transcript of that hearing had previously been provided and Williams did ...


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