North Dakota v. Louser, et al.Annotate this Case
The State petitioned the North Dakota Supreme Court to exercise its original jurisdiction and issue a writ of supervision directing the district court to grant a motion to amend a charge against Misty Lee Schwarz. Schwarz was charged with fourth offense of driving under the influence of alcohol (“DUI”) and a sixth offense in five years of driving with a suspended license. On November 9, 2020, the State and Schwarz reached a plea agreement, which called for amending the fourth offense DUI down to a third offense DUI. This agreement would change the offense level from a class C felony to a class A misdemeanor. It also included a provision agreeing to a specific sentence. The same day, the State filed a motion to amend the charge. The State asserted the charge needed an amendment to a lower level offense to create a longer sentence for Schwarz due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At a pretrial conference, the court expressed concern with amending the charge to the misdemeanor third offense, and ultimately denied the plea agreement and motion to amend the charge. The State sought a writ of supervision from the Supreme Court to compel the district court to amend the charge, arguing the court violated the separation of powers doctrine and infringed upon the State’s prosecutorial discretion. Finding that the court did not abuse its discretion when it denied the State’s motion, the Supreme Court denied the State’s petition for a writ of supervision.