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Nicholas Dwight Thornton

Nicholas Thornton’s Answers

256 total


  • How many times can a judge reschedule a trial?

    My daughter was date raped in may of 2013, the accused was arrested of a class A felony for sexual assault. The judge has signed off on rescheduling the trial 5 times. At this time, over two years will have passed until the trial (that is , if it'...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    A judge can reschedule a trial as many times as he or she wants, so long as there is good cause to do so. If it's been rescheduled as many times as you say, often they are waiting for things like DNA to come back, or trying to arrange depositions, or continue investigating the matter. Victims and witnesses do not have the right to a speedy trial; the defendant does. Your daughter does, however, have the right to communicate her wishes to speed things up to the States Attorney's Office. Good luck.

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  • Child protection

    My son's mother just had all of her children taken away for the 2nd time. However my son is here at his grandmother's on a visit. The last time this happened my mother his grandmother got her foster care license to take my son. She is more that qu...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    It depends on how the children were taken away, and on what basis they were taken away. As a general matter, parents are presumed to be the best placement for their children, and parents have a constitutional right to parent their children. Children can be removed from the custody of a parent only when there is reason to believe a child's welfare is in imminent danger.

    Here, your question is somewhat unclear. It sounds like your child's mother has had issues with CPS in the past, and had "all of her children" removed. It also sounds like when that happened, your son was not in her custody--instead, he was at grandma's house. Are you asking if grandma needs to give the child back to the unfit mother, and then hope that CPS places the child back in grandma's house as a foster home (as was done the first time)? Why wouldn't you take your son, unless there are some concerns about your living arrangement or ability to provide care for your son? Is there a court order concerning custody of your son? If so, what does the order state? Have you contacted CPS to get their input on safe placement for your son with grandma if you are unable to provide him what he needs right now? There are lots of questions here and not enough information to provide any answers. I wish you the best of luck in straightening this up.

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  • I already had an evaluation, is it possible to get a second one and use that recommendation instead?

    It's my first DUI, and I got an evaluation right away, but there is a specific place I want to go to and they don't offer the services recommended by the first facility. Is it possible to get a second evaluation? The first place sent the informati...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    You can get another evaluation if you'd like. The second evaluation may have the same or a different recommendation than the first. If the recommendation is the same and the second provider can do the follow-up treatment, then it's no problem at all. It just confirms to the Court and the DMV that the first evaluation was accurate and reliable. If the second evaluation comes back with a stronger recommendation (i.e., inpatient treatment where the original recommendation was for outpatient treatment), depending on who you ask the evaluation report to go to, it may be that you do not choose to file the second evaluation. If the treatment recommendation in the second evaluation is weaker (outpatient treatment instead of inpatient treatment), you should consider filing the second evaluation. Of course, the Court might err on the side of requiring more treatment rather than less. In other words, the Court might ignore the second evaluation if it's more lenient than the first. For the Court's purpose, probation's purpose, and for the DMV's purpose, the only thing that really matters is that you do the required follow up. Good luck.

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  • Can a distirict court in north dakota see prior class b misdemeanors from 5 years ago that where all in minnesota

    can a distirict court in north dakota see prior class b misdemeanors from 5 years ago that where all in minnesota

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Most likely, yes. Some prosecutors will only look to North Dakota information available through the North Dakota Supreme Court's electronic case management system. Some will use information from the National Crime Information Center (a division of the FBI), which contains information from Minnesota.

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  • Why wasn't I arrested for assault?

    I was out drinking and i was black out drunk. i supposedly knocked a female unconscious but i dont believe i did. why was i accused of this and detained in a police car and not arrested right there? I have no recollection of what happened, how wil...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Under North Dakota law, you cannot be arrested for a misdemeanor level assault unless it was committed in the officer's presence or it was a domestic violence situation. Officers could arrest you for a felony-level assault without them being present. Perhaps they were investigating it as a misdemeanor assault, which would explain why you were not arrested on the spot. If you are charged, the prosecutor can still choose to allege felony-level or misdemeanor-level charges, regardless of what the officer wanted you charged for. As for being "black out drunk," that does not provide a defense to the charge of assault, although it may help mitigate punishment. Your best bet is to find a top notch attorney right now and get them involved in the pre-charge defense of this incident.

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  • When are police reports filed?

    I am not sure if I have a police report filed against me or not. I called the department and they said they didn't see my name but i was curious if maybe the report just wasn't filed yet. this insident happened between 11:00 pm 3/14/15 and 2:00 a...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    No, that does not mean you are in the clear. Depending on the type of crime, prosecutors have at least two years to decide whether to prosecute you or not. It may be three years, or even many more for certain types of crimes. The police may or may not tell you there are generating a report, as criminal investigative materials are not open records under North Dakota law. If a report is written and the matter is not a traffic offense or something law enforcement immediately arrested you for, the normal practice is to send it to the city or state prosecutor for a review of what charges should be brought. This review can take weeks or months. Good luck.

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  • If a sex offender moved to another state from where they were convicted, do they still have to register in their new state

    Michigan misdemeanor conviction, moved to North Dakota

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Yes. You will have to register in North Dakota within 3 days.

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  • Is it legal to be sitting in a county jail doing "dead time" while you wait to be transferred to state prison? If so how long?

    My brother in law was sentenced to 3 years in prison with 15 months suspended. He was sentenced for a 5th offense in 7 years which have been DUI's and driving under suspension. Currently he is sitting in county jail (checked in December 7th) waiti...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Under North Dakota law, he is entitled to credit for any time spent in either a jail, prison, or psychiatric hospital--before or after a trial or plea--related to that charge. Now, if he is sitting on more than one case, he may not be given credit against both files.

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  • What if someone from North Dakota killed someone and North Dakota has capital punishment and the murder traveled to Minnesota b

    What if someone from North Dakota killed someone and North Dakota has capital punishment and the murder traveled to Minnesota because he doesn't want to die because there is no capital punishment in Minnesota...so how will north Dakota bring the ...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Minnesota would ship the person back to North Dakota to answer for the charges. North Dakota doesn't have a capital punishment statute. The maximum penalty is life without parole. Nevertheless, not a good idea.

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  • What would happen if I plea guilty to petty theft and it is my first offense?

    i am being charged with petty theft. I have two children at home who depend on me. I took a phone case a charger and a few grocery items my court hearing is tomorrow. I don't want to go to jail. What is the worst and best case scenario for me?

    Nicholas’s Answer

    When you say "petty theft," I presume you mean the theft is a B misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor theft has a maximum punishment of 30 days in jail, a fine of $1,500, or both. There also are court fees that are usually imposed of $125 in an administrative fee, a $100 facility fee, and sometimes a $25 victim/witness fee. The likelihood of you getting anything near the maximum penalty for a first offense shoplifting is very, very low.

    With retail theft, there is also the potential for a civil penalty of restitution (paying for the value of the items stolen) plus a $250.00 civil fine under our Retail Theft Act. This is usually not mentioned by the court in criminal cases, but the retailer can and sometimes does seek this by sending a demand letter for it.

    Also, the retailer can seek to have you "trespassed" from its premises, meaning that you'd be barred from stepping foot in their store again. If you do, you can be arrested for trespassing.

    The best case scenario is that they dismiss all charges and issue you an apology. That isn't likely to happen, especially when you admit on a public forum that you committed a theft.

    The most likely outcome with no prior offenses and a small dollar theft is a deferred imposition or a suspended sentence. A deferred imposition means that you'd be put on probation for a while and if you successfully complete it, this would be cleared from your publicly available record. One step more severe than a deferred imposition is a "suspended" sentence, which means that you're put on probation but there is a permanent conviction for theft on your publicly available record.

    If you are unsure about what is likely to happen before court tomorrow, I would suggest you consider one of the two following courses of action: (1) plead not guilty, address bail, and request a public defender to advise you on the legal consequences of a guilty plea before you enter it; or (2) ask the prosecutor for his or her recommendation before deciding whether to plead guilty or not guilty. Most prosecutors will give you a sentencing recommendation if you ask for it.

    Good luck.

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