from the District Court of Williams County, Northwest
Judicial District, the Honorable Robin A. Schmidt, Judge.
J. Fischer, Bismarck, ND, for petitioner and appellant.
K. Madden, Assistant State's Attorney, Williston, ND, for
respondent and appellee.
1] Jonathan Horvath appeals from a district court order
summarily dismissing his application for post-conviction
relief. We reverse and remand for the court to hold an
evidentiary hearing on his application.
2] In July 2014, the district court held a jury trial in
which Jonathan Horvath appeared as the defendant for crimes
arising out of an incident in March 2013. A jury convicted
Horvath of murder, reckless endangerment, two counts of
terrorizing, and a felon in possession of a firearm. Horvath
is currently serving life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole.
3] Horvath appealed arguing insufficient evidence existed for
a rational jury to find him guilty. Horvath filed a
supplemental statement alleging perjury, improper closing
statements, among other matters. This Court summarily
affirmed the criminal judgments. See State v.
Horvath, 2015 ND 166, 870 N.W.2d 26. Horvath filed an
application for post-conviction relief in June 2016, and
requested a hearing in November 2016. In December 2016, the
State filed a response and moved the district court to
dismiss the application. In March 2017, Horvath moved the
court to amend his application, the State objected. The court
granted the request and reserved ruling on the State's
motion to dismiss until the amended application was filed.
4] In April 2017, Horvath filed an amended application for
post-conviction relief and requested an evidentiary hearing.
Horvath's amended application alleged he was denied
effective assistance of counsel because his trial counsel:
(1) failed to subpoena an essential witness, Kevin Kallio, to
rebut two of the State's witnesses; and (2) trial counsel
failed to present exculpatory video evidence, when exhibit 24
was not shown in full. The State again moved the court to
dismiss the action and gave notice it was putting Horvath on
his proof. Horvath responded indicating his trial counsel was
ineffective because he failed to introduce video evidence
that would impeach the credibility of a key State witness,
and the omission was prejudicial to his defense.
Horvath's reply included references to specific evidence
and references to the trial transcript. Horvath further
argued claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are
unsuited for summary disposition without an evidentiary
hearing. The court summarily dismissed Horvath's
application for post-conviction relief without holding an
5] Horvath argues the district court erred by summarily
dismissing his application for post-conviction relief
claiming ineffective assistance of counsel.
6] This Court has held "the purpose of the Uniform
Postconviction Procedure Act, N.D.C.C. ch. 29-32.1, is to
furnish a method to develop a complete record to challenge a
criminal conviction." Chisholm v. State, 2014
ND 125, ¶ 15, 848 N.W.2d 703 (internal quotation
omitted). Summary disposition in a post-conviction relief
proceeding is akin to summary judgment under N.D.R.Civ.P. 56
when matters outside the pleadings are considered. Chase
v. State, 2017 ND 192, ¶ 7, 899 N.W.2d 280.
"An applicant has the burden of establishing grounds for
post-conviction relief." Chisholm, at ¶ 8.
7] The requirements for an application for post-conviction
relief under N.D.C.C. § 29-32.1-04(2), provides:
The application must identify all proceedings for direct
review of the judgment of conviction or sentence and all
previous postconviction proceedings taken by the applicant to
secure relief from the conviction or sentence, the grounds
asserted therein, and the orders or judgments entered. The
application must refer to the portions of the record of
prior proceedings pertinent to the alleged grounds for
relief. If the cited record is not in the files of the
court, the applicant shall attach that record or portions
thereof to the ...