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State v. Hall

Supreme Court of North Dakota

May 16, 2017

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Christian Dupree Hall, Defendant and Appellant

         Appeal from the District Court of Ward County, North Central Judicial District, the Honorable Todd L. Cresap, Judge.

         AFFIRMED.

          Ashley K. Schell, Ward County Assistant State's Attorney, Minot, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.

          Eric P. Baumann, Minot Public Defender Office, Minot, ND, for defendant and appellant.

          OPINION

          Kapsner, Justice.

         [¶ 1] Christian Dupree Hall appeals from a criminal judgment entered after he conditionally pleaded guilty following the district court's denial of his motion to suppress and motion to dismiss for violation of Hall's right to a speedy trial. We conclude the district court did not err when it denied Hall's motion to dismiss for violation of Hall's speedy trial rights. We also conclude the district court did not err when it denied Hall's motion to suppress evidence. We affirm the criminal judgment.

         I

         [¶ 2] On October 1, 2015, Hall was arrested for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver after a search of his backpack revealed the presence of Oxycodone pills packaged in baggies. Hall made his initial appearance on October 2, 2015 and was charged with the offense by information on November 5, 2015 at the preliminary hearing. On December 7, 2015, Hall moved to suppress the evidence, arguing the evidence was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Hall argued the seizure of his person and of his backpack pending the issuance of a search warrant were both conducted in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Hall also argued the search warrant obtained prior to the search was not supported by probable cause.

         [¶ 3] The district court held a hearing on Hall's motion to suppress evidence on January 11, 2016. At the hearing, an officer testified while conducting surveillance at the Amtrak station, he saw an individual exit the train station. The individual, later identified as Christian Hall, was observed carrying a backpack. The officer testified he observed Hall attempt to flag down a vehicle before it drove away. The officer then observed Hall enter a taxi. The officer followed the taxi and testified the taxi traveled "approximately 5 or 6 blocks before they actually made a u-turn and actually came back in the same direction in which they were going." The officer testified the taxi's maneuvers were "indicative in regards to people... that are actually trying to see if they are being followed or if they are being watched." The officer followed Hall's taxi to an apartment building where Hall exited and attempted to gain entry into an apartment. The officer learned from another officer that the patio door Hall approached belonged to an individual with pending drug charges. The officer testified he observed Hall knock on a garage door at the apartment complex. The officer testified after Hall was unable to gain entry into the apartment or the garage, Hall traveled to a fast-food restaurant.

         [¶ 4] At the fast-food restaurant, the officer took a photograph of Hall and sent it to another officer in an attempt to identify him. The officer testified he was informed the individual photographed was Christian Hall. Hall was observed walking to a gas station where he waited for a different taxi to arrive. The officer followed Hall's second taxi to a hotel. At the hotel, the officer approached and spoke to Hall. The officer and Hall gave conflicting testimony as to who removed Hall's backpack from the taxi. An officer testified Hall stated he was in Minot to visit before stating he had no friends or family in Minot. An officer testified Hall also stated he was in Minot looking for a job. After asking Hall some questions, officers conducted a K-9 dog sniff on the backpack. Officers testified the dog alerted, and the officers seized the bag pending the approval of a search warrant application. Hall was told he could leave and did leave the area. After obtaining a search warrant, the officers searched the bag and discovered Oxycodone pills. Hall was later arrested at the airport.

         [¶ 5] The district court denied Hall's motion to suppress evidence on February 10, 2016. The court concluded the initial seizure of Hall's backpack was supported by reasonable suspicion. The court also concluded the K-9 unit's alert on the backpack gave officers probable cause to seize the bag pending receipt of a search warrant. Lastly, the court concluded the search warrant was supported by probable cause.

         [¶ 6] On February 16, 2016, Hall filed a demand for a speedy trial. At a pre-trial conference the following day, the district court informed the parties trial would be scheduled as soon as the court's calendar would permit. Trial was scheduled for May 24, 2016. On May 19, 2016, Hall moved to dismiss for violation of his right to a speedy trial. The district court denied the motion to dismiss on May 23, 2016. On May 23, 2016, Hall entered a conditional guilty plea. Hall filed a notice of appeal on June 21, 2016. On appeal, Hall contends the district court erred by denying both his motion to suppress evidence and motion to dismiss for violation of his right to a speedy trial.

         II

         [¶ 7] On appeal, Hall challenges the district court's denial of his motion to dismiss for violation of his speedy trial rights and denial of his motion to suppress evidence. We will first address Hall's arguments regarding the denial of his motion to dismiss. Hall argues the district court erred in denying his motion to dismiss for a violation of his speedy trial rights under N.D.C.C. § 29-19-02 and under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 12 of the North Dakota Constitution. The State argues the district court properly denied the motion to dismiss.

         A

         [¶ 8] We review Hall's speedy trial claim with regard to his statutory speedy trial rights. The statutory right to a speedy trial, found in N.D.C.C. § 29-19-02, provides:

In a criminal prosecution, the state and the defendant each shall have the right to a speedy trial. The right to a speedy trial in a criminal case in which the charging instrument contains a charge of a felony offense under section 19-03.1-23 or under chapter 12.1-20 is for the trial to begin within ninety days of the date the party elects this right. The prosecution and the defendant shall elect this right within fourteen days following the arraignment. The court may allow the trial to begin later than ninety days of the arraignment for good cause.

         The statutory right to a speedy trial under N.D.C.C. § 29-19-02 may be asserted by a defendant charged under "section 19-03.1-23 or under chapter 12.1-20." Hall was charged under N.D.C.C. § 19-03.1-23(1). The starting date for the 90-day window under the statute is "the date of receipt by both the court and the prosecutor[.]" State v. Gibson, 2017 ND 15, ¶ 6, 889 N.W.2d 852. Hall's demand for a speedy trial was received by the court and the prosecutor on February 16, 2016, and trial was scheduled for May 24, 2016. There were 98 days between Hall's election of his speedy trial rights and the scheduled trial date. Hall acknowledges the demand was filed more than fourteen days after arraignment, but argues the deadline to elect the right should be extended because he filed his demand four days after the district court denied his motion to suppress evidence. Hall does not cite any authority for this principle. The district court's denial of Hall's motion to dismiss stated:

On February 16, 2016, Defendant filed a Demand for Speedy Trial under § 29-19-02 of the North Dakota Century Code. On February 17, 2016, a final pretrial conference was held in this matter. At that time the Court addressed the Demand for Speedy Trial noting that the demand had been made more than 90 days after the arraignment had been held in this matter. The Court further stated on the record that it was directing the Clerk of Court to schedule this matter for trial as soon as the Court's schedule would allow.

         The district court denied the motion to dismiss and stated, "Based upon the foregoing and based upon the failure of the Defendant to make his demand within 14 days of the arraignment in this action, the Court hereby denies the ...


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