from the District Court of Mountrail County, North Central
Judicial District, the Honorable Douglas L. Mattson, Judge.
G. Enget, State's Attorney, Stanley, ND, for plaintiff
K. Schell, Fargo, ND, for defendant and appellant.
Jeremy Maines appeals from the district court's amended
criminal judgments and finding he is a habitual offender. We
In April 2017, Maines was charged with robbery and theft of
property. The State later charged Maines with four counts of
terrorizing. The State filed notices alleging Maines was
subject to imposition of an enhanced sentence as a habitual
offender under N.D.C.C. § 12.1-32-09(2), based on prior
felony convictions in the state of Washington. In July 2018,
Maines plead guilty to robbery and four counts of
terrorizing. On October 25, 2018, the district court held a
hearing to determine whether Maines was a habitual offender
under N.D.C.C. § 12.1-32-09(1)(c). The district court
found Maines was a habitual offender because his prior
convictions in Washington were felonies that occurred while
he was an adult. The court sentenced Maines to 20 years with
8 years suspended for 5 years for the robbery charge. Maines
was sentenced to 5 years on each count of the terrorizing
charges, to run concurrently with each other and the previous
sentence. On October 26, 2018, the court entered judgments
consistent with the sentence. Maines appeals.
Maines argues on appeal the district court abused its
discretion by sentencing him as a habitual offender.
Specifically, he claims his prior convictions are
misdemeanors under North Dakota law and do not apply under
the habitual offender statute.
"A district court has discretion in sentencing, and
review of a sentence is generally limited 'to whether the
court acted within the statutorily prescribed sentencing
limits or substantially relied on an impermissible
factor.'" State v. Clark, 2012 ND 135,
¶ 18, 818 N.W.2d 739 (quoting State v.
Gonzalez, 2011 ND 143, ¶ 6, 799 N.W.2d 402). This
Court reviews habitual offender proceedings under N.D.C.C.
§ 12.1-32-09 and the application of a sentence
enhancement for an abuse of discretion. Clark, at
¶ 18. "A trial court abuses its discretion only
when it acts in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or capricious
manner, or misinterprets or misapplies the law."
State v. Cain, 2011 ND 213, ¶ 16, 806 N.W.2d
597 (quoting State v. Carpenter, 2011 ND 20, ¶
22, 793 N.W.2d 765).
To determine whether the district court abused its discretion
in sentencing, we must look to the application of the
habitual offender statute. "Statutory interpretation is
a question of law, which this Court reviews de novo."
Rice v. Neether, 2016 ND 247, ¶ 9, 888 N.W.2d
749. "In construing statutes, the specific controls the
general." McKenzie Cty. v. Reichman, 2012 ND
20, ¶ 18, 812 N.W.2d 332; N.D.C.C. § 1-02-07.
Maines does not dispute he has prior convictions in
Washington. Maines argues his prior convictions are
misdemeanors under N.D.C.C. § 12.1-32-02(9) for the
purpose of determining whether he was a habitual offender.
N.D.C.C. § 12.1-32-02(9) states:
A person who is convicted of a felony and sentenced to
imprisonment for not more than three hundred sixty days is
deemed to have been convicted of a misdemeanor. However, if
an order is entered revoking a term of probation that was
imposed as part of a sentence, the person is deemed to have
been convicted of a felony.
Maines was convicted in Washington of second degree theft in
1994, and faced a maximum possible penalty of 5 years. Maines
was sentenced to 60 days with 12 months of probation.
Maines' second Washington conviction was in 1996 for
second degree burglary, and the maximum penalty Maines could
have faced was 10 years. Maines was sentenced to 9 months