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State v. Baltrusch

Supreme Court of North Dakota

October 29, 2019

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Glen Everett Baltrusch, Defendant and Appellant

          Appeal from the District Court of Wells County, Southeast Judicial District, the Honorable James D. Hovey, Judge.

          Kathleen K. Murray, State's Attorney, Fessenden, N.D., for plaintiff and appellee.

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

          OPINION

          TUFTE, JUSTICE.

         [¶1] Glen Baltrusch appeals from a criminal judgment entered after a jury found him guilty of four counts of disobedience of a judicial order. Because the evidence is sufficient to sustain the verdicts and the district court did not commit obvious error in failing to dismiss counts two through four on double jeopardy grounds, we affirm.

         I

         [¶2] Gary, Milo, and Glen Baltrusch are sons of Delores Baltrusch. Gary Baltrusch is the trustee of the Delores Baltrusch Irrevocable Trust. The Trust owns a house in the City of Harvey. Delores Baltrusch has been allowed to reside in the home as long as she is able. Glen Baltrusch also resided in the home with Delores Baltrusch. Gary and Milo Baltrusch were concerned that Glen Baltrusch was taking advantage of their elderly mother, and in July 2017 they asked him to vacate the property. He refused to do so. In response to Glen Baltrusch's refusal to leave the property, Gary Baltrusch, as trustee, brought an action under N.D.C.C. ch. 47-32 to evict Glen Baltrusch from the premises. On October 13, 2017, a final judgment was entered ordering Glen Baltrusch to vacate the property no later than October 20, 2017. On April 11, 2018, a special writ of execution was issued ordering the sheriff to remove Glen Baltrusch from the property. A sheriff's return of service indicates the special writ of execution was served on April 11, 2018, and the sheriff testified that Glen Baltrusch left the premises with the sheriff when the writ was served.

         [¶3] Sheriff Kluth, Milo Baltrusch, and Gary Baltrusch testified that they observed Glen Baltrusch at the residence beginning on April 13, 2018, under circumstances that they believed showed he was again living there. The State then charged him with 24 counts of disobedience of a judicial order in violation of N.D.C.C. § 12.1-10-05. The 24 counts were later consolidated into four counts. Each count charged a violation of the October 13, 2017, eviction judgment on various dates. A jury convicted him on all four counts, and he was given a suspended sentence on each count of 30 days in jail, 360 days of unsupervised probation, and a restriction on the possession of firearms. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

         II

         [¶4] Glen Baltrusch argues the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions.

         [¶5] Our standard for reviewing claims of insufficient evidence to support convictions is well established:

A defendant bears the burden of showing the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, reveals no reasonable inference of guilt. On appeal, this Court merely reviews the record to determine if there is competent evidence that allowed the jury to draw an inference reasonably tending to prove guilt and fairly warranting a conviction. A conviction rests upon insufficient evidence only when no rational factfinder could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution and giving the prosecution the benefit of all inferences reasonably to be drawn in its favor.

State v. Lyons, 2019 ND 175, ¶ 9, 930 N.W.2d 156 (quoting State v. Igou, 2005 ND 16, ¶ 5, 6 ...


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