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State of North Dakota v. Randy Scott Jensen
Case Number: 2020 ND 31
Judge: Jerod E. Tufte
Court: IN THE SUPREME COURT
STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA
Plaintiff's Attorney: Carmell F. Mattison, Assistant Stateís Attorney
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Jensen was released on parole from the state penitentiary in December
2017. About ten days later, he was arrested and charged in this case for drug
offenses and unlawful use of license plates. He remained incarcerated until his
August 2018 court trial. At trial, the district court found Jensen guilty on all
counts. In October 2018, he was sentenced to four yearsí imprisonment with
credit for 94 days served between July 1, 2018, and October 2, 2018.
[∂3] In August 2019, Jensen moved to correct his sentence under
N.D.R.Crim.P. 35(a)(1), arguing he was owed credit for time spent incarcerated
between his December 2017 arrest and October 2018 sentencing. The State
filed an answer brief, arguing Jensen was not entitled to additional credit
because he was held on the parole violation and other charges. The next day,
the district court denied Jensenís motion.
[∂4] On appeal, Jensen argues the district court abused its discretion by
denying his motion without giving him an opportunity to respond under
We have said that ď[t]he district courtís decision to amend a
judgment is subject to sound judgment and will not be reversed on
appeal unless there is an abuse of discretion.Ē State v. Peterson,
2016 ND 192, ∂ 8, 886 N.W.2d 71. A court abuses its discretion if
it acts in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or unconscionable manner, if
its decision is not the product of a rational mental process leading
to a reasoned determination, or if it misinterprets or misapplies
the law. Id.; see also State v. Moos, 2008 ND 228, ∂ 30, 758 N.W.2d
State v. Myers, 2017 ND 265, ∂ 6, 903 N.W.2d 520.
[∂5] Rule 3.2(a)(2), N.D.R.Ct., provides:
Briefs. Upon serving and filing a motion, the moving party must
serve and file a brief and other supporting papers and the opposing
party must have 14 days after service of a brief within which to
serve and file an answer brief and other supporting papers. The
moving party may serve and file a reply brief within seven days
after service of the answer brief. Upon the filing of briefs, or upon
expiration of the time for filing, the motion is considered submitted
to the court unless counsel for any party requests oral argument
on the motion.
[∂6] Here, the district court denied Jensenís motion before seven days had
passed after service of the answer brief. Because the time to reply had not
expired, the motion was not yet submitted to the court under N.D.R.Ct.
3.2(a)(2). We conclude the district court misapplied the law in denying Jensen
an opportunity to respond under N.D.R.Ct. 3.2(a)(2). See State v. Vogt, 2019
ND 236, ∂∂ 9Ė10, 933 N.W.2d 916 (district courtís dismissal of petitionerís
postconviction relief application on its own motion was inappropriate because
he was not provided notice and an opportunity to be heard pursuant to
N.D.R.Ct. 3.2). The district courtís misapplication of Rule 3.2 was an abuse of
discretion. Because the district court abused its discretion, we reverse the
order denying Jensenís motion and remand for an opportunity to respond
consistent with N.D.R.Ct. 3.2(a)(2).
Outcome: We have considered the remaining arguments and conclude they are
either unnecessary to our decision or do not affect the outcome of the appeal.
We reverse the district court order denying Jensenís motion to correct an illegal
sentence and remand for an opportunity to respond consistent with N.D.R.Ct.