Jack Dura / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—State charges including attempted murder were dismissed Thursday, March 8, against a man accused of attempting to run over a Bismarck police officer — but now a federal case begins. Ulises "Droopy" Villalobos-Alvarado and Juan Nunez were indicted Wednesday and arraigned Thursday in Bismarck's federal court. Trial is set for three days in May before District of North Dakota Chief Judge Daniel Hovland.
BISMARCK—Preliminary figures from the last fiscal month show state revenues largely in step with last spring's forecast. Office of Management and Budget Director Joe Morrissette told the Government Finance Committee Wednesday that "we are continuing to track very closely to our legislative forecast."
BISMARCK — Whiteout wintry conditions caused issues Monday, March 5, for some court proceedings, but one defendant still entered his not guilty pleas. In a waiver filed Friday, 22-year-old Ulises Villalobos-Alvarado waived his preliminary hearing set for Monday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to felony counts of attempted murder and fleeing a peace officer.
BISMARCK—Sally Holewa says North Dakota's South Central Judicial District needs three bodies and one toe. "They definitely have the biggest overall shortage as far as judicial bodies, that's for sure," the state court administrator said.
BISMARCK—Precipitation, including snow and freezing rain, is likely to impact North Dakota beginning late Saturday night, possibly lingering through Monday night. Developing from a storm system over the Rocky Mountains and emerging onto the Northern Plains, snow is likely to start Saturday night, according to meteorologist Janine Vining, of the Bismarck National Weather Service.
BISMARCK—Kevin Decker's probation ended one month before the North Dakota Supreme Court upheld his trial and misdemeanor conviction related to a Dakota Access Pipeline protest. One of the first defendants arrested and charged from the monthslong demonstrations, Decker was convicted at trial a year ago of disorderly conduct. He appealed, alleging insufficient evidence and a "closed" courtroom as one man was denied entry during jury selection. Justices heard arguments in November and issued differing opinions on Thursday.
BISMARCK — Nathan Phillips' birthday fell on the same day of the eviction of the Dakota Access protest camps last year. "The snow was flying, the camp was on fire — oh, I didn't get no birthday cake," the 64-year-old Omaha tribal member said Thursday, Feb. 22. Phillips was among the last of the protesters encamped near the Cannonball River in southern Morton County when law enforcement evicted the camps from Feb. 22-23, 2017, effectively ending the monthslong protests against the controversial pipeline that's now been flowing oil since June.
BISMARCK—One of four men charged in connection to deer poaching at the Dakota Access protest camps is the first to resolve his case. Danny LeClaire, of Pocatello, Idaho, was charged a year ago with misdemeanor unlawful taking of a big game animal. On Wednesday, Feb. 22, South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick approved a pretrial diversion agreement filed by Morton County State's Attorney Al Koppy.
BISMARCK — Following state Sen. Kelly Armstrong's resignation Tuesday as state Republican party chair, the party will hold a special election to fill the remainder of his term. According to the party's bylaws, NDGOP first vice chair Jim Poolman is now acting chair, he confirmed Thursday. "We will set up a special election to permanently fill that role within the next month," he said of the timing, which will take place before the party's convention in April in Grand Forks.
BISMARCK—Critics of Marsy's Law say its ambiguity for prosecutors is leading to withheld public information, while those attorneys say they want more clarity on the victim rights law. While Marsy's Law enshrines victim's rights in the state constitution, representatives of the North Dakota Newspaper Association say its transparency issues have "chipped away" at North Dakota's "thoughtfully devised" laws and rules on open meetings and public records.