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Sabot v. Pringle

United States District Court, D. North Dakota

January 7, 2020

Eric Lance Sabot, Petitioner,
v.
Chad Pringle, Warden, et al., Respondents.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO DISMISS

          Clare R. Hochhalter, Magistrate Judge

         Before the court is a Motion to Dismiss filed by respondent on March 30, 2019. (Doc. No. 10). For the reasons set forth below, respondent's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner Eric Lance Sabot (“Sabot”) was, following a bench trial in state district court, convicted of the offense of terrorizing and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years with two years suspended and three years of supervised probation. (Doc. No. 9-4). He appealed, asserting there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction. (Doc. No. 9-5). The North Dakota Supreme Court summarily affirmed his conviction on December 7, 2017, concluding there was enough evidence to support it. (Doc. No. 9-9). The mandate issued on January 30, 2018. (Doc. No. 9-1).

         Sabot filed an application for post-conviction relief with the state district court on February 1, 2018, asserting:

(1) "The conviction was obtained or the sentence was imposed in violation of the laws or the constitution of the United States or Constitution of North Dakota." (Doc. No. 9-11).
(2) "The sentence is not authorized by law." (Id.)
(3) "Evidence not previously presented and heard, exists requiring vacation of the conviction or sentence in the interest of justice." (Id.)
(4) "The conviction or sentence is otherwise subject to collateral attack upon any ground I alleged error available before July 1, 1985 under any common law, statutory or other writs, motion, proceeding, or remedy." (Id.)
(5) "Denial of effective assistance of counsel; the Sixth Amendment . . . . I asked my lawyer Thomas Glass to include evidence from section 2 of my writ of certiorari but he did get this important evidence that I told him I needed to refute the States case or claims! Just by reading Dan Donlin's letter it is clear why it so important to my case in exonerating me!" (Id.) (error in original)
(6) "Sixth Amendment . . . Judge Dann Greenwood, States attorney Ladd Erickson, and my own lawyer Thomas Glass. They pulled me into the Judges Chambers without the court report the day of my jury trial and threatened and coerced me to give up my right to a jury trial by threatening to destroy and alter my testimony if I didn't give into their demands!" (Id.)
(7) "Sixth Amendment . . . I did not get to call my 13 witnesses in my favor?! Judge Dann Greenwood and states attorney Ladd Erickson never once asked me to call my witnesses?! It's my sixth amendment right to call the witnesses I have. Burleigh County court house and the State of North Dakota are corupt! (Id.) (error in original)
(8) "2nd Amendment . . . The Judge Wayne Goter and a lot of state conspirators stole my handgun serial # 273-67828 at a fake civil court hearing 08-2015-SC-343." (Id.)
(9) "4th Amendment . . . Judge Wayne Goter secretly seized my hand gun at court hearing 80-2015-SC-343." (Id.)
(10) "Fith Amendment . . . In the transcripts of page 44 lines 19-25 Judge Dann Greenwood is using statements I didn't even say as hear-say evidence? This case 08-2016-CR-01385 is based off of 0 evidence. I am not shure who these people are trying to fool!"(Id.) (errors in original)
(11) "14th Amendment . . . I have the right to a jury trial and no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, Nor deny to any person within it's jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws!" (Id.).

         On February 5, 2018, the State filed a response to Sabot's application. (Doc. No. 9-12). On April 4, 2018, it filed a motion for summary disposition of Sabot's application pursuant to N.D.C.C. §§ 29-32.1-06(2) and 29-32.1-09(1). (Doc. No. 9-13). Sabot responded to the motion as follows in relevant part:

[¶6] Mr. Sabot claims effective assistance of counsel. Specifically Mr. Sabot alleges that he instructed his attorney to provide specific evidence to the court. The evidence that Mr. Sabot instructed to provide was either/both that Officer Luke Senger lied in his police reports where Officer Senger did not indicate that Mr. Sabot was charged [with] felony Aggravated Assault in 2008 and/or that Mr. Sabot's father stole his handgun and should be charged with theft. Mr. Sabot's attorney, however, was unable to offer the evidence. Thereby, Mr. Sabot was denied effective counsel.
[¶7] Mr. Sabot claims that he was coerced into a bench trial when it was the intention of Mr. Sabot to exercise his right to a jury trial. Mr. Sabot alleges that Judge Greenwood, State's Attorney Ladd Erickson and Mr. Sabot's attorney, Thomas Glass, spoke with Mr. Sabot away from the court reporter and threatened to alter his testimony of Mr. Sabot exercised his right to a jury trial.
[¶8] Mr. Sabot claims that he was not provided the opportunity to present his witnesses. Mr Sabot claims that he was never asked if he wanted to provide any witnesses during his trial.

(Doc. No. 9-14) (emphasis in original). On April 6, 2018, the state district court granted the State's motion and summarily disposed of Sabot's application, opining:

[2] Both in the initial Application for Post Conviction Relief and in the response to the State's motion for summary disposition Eric Lance Sabot set forth what the court would characterize as conclusory allegations. In the Application for Post Conviction Relief pursuant, Sabot merely states verbatim the language of N.D.C.C. 29-32.1-01(1) (a, d, e & h) and adds reference to the Fourteenth Amendment, i.e. equal protection. In addition, he asserts ineffective assistance of counsel. It should be noted both generally and in the context of his claim that evidence not previously presented exists, that Sabot speaks to that in a general sense only. However, he has not provided any affidavits or other admissible evidence in support of his application or in support of his response to the motion for summary disposition. Furthermore, many of Sabot's arguments were, or could have been, raised in his unsuccessful appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court in State v. Sabot, 2017 ND 280, 094 N.W.2d 460.
[3] After review it is the ORDER of the court to GRANT the motion for summary disposition.

         DISCUSSION

[4] As held in the case of Atkins v. State, 2017 ND 290, ¶ 5, 904 N.W.2d 738, 739, reh'g denied (Jan. 26, 2018):
The standard of review for a summary denial of post-conviction relief is well-established:
This Court reviews an appeal from a summary denial of post-conviction relief as it reviews an appeal from a summary judgment. The party opposing the motion for summary disposition is entitled to all reasonable inferences at the preliminary stages of a post-conviction proceeding and is entitled to an ...

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