North Dakota v. McAllisterAnnotate this Case
Kelvin McAllister was convicted by jury of assault. On appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court, McAllister claimed his right to an impartial jury was violated. He argued the district court erred when it denied various challenges for cause he made because jurors either knew the prosecuting attorney or had been the prosecuting attorney’s clients. He also claimed that due to the aggregate effect of the jurors’ familiarity with the prosecutor the court should have granted his motion for a mistrial. McAllister also claimed multiple errors with respect to the trial court’s admission of certain evidence, and in instructing the jury. The Supreme Court determined there was no evidence in the record that any of the jurors were clients of the prosecuting attorney at the time of trial. The jurors who stated they knew the prosecuting attorney or were familiar with him all affirmed they would be impartial. Furthermore, the Court determined McAllister did not show a material departure from “the forms prescribed by law in respect to the drawing and return of the jury, or on the intentional omission of the sheriff to summon one or more of the jurors drawn.” The Supreme Court concluded the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied McAllister’s challenges for cause, for denying a mistrial, admitting evidence relating to restitution, or in instructing the jury.