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State v. Norvell

Supreme Court of Montana

May 7, 2019

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
BRIAN THOMAS NORVELL, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: March 13, 2019.

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Nineteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Lincoln, Cause No. DC 16-51 Honorable Matthew Cuffe, Presiding Judge.

          For Appellant: Laura Reed, Attorney at Law, Missoula, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Katie F. Schulz, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana

          Marcia Boris, Lincoln County Attorney, Jeffrey Zwang, Deputy County Attorney, Libby, Montana

          Jim Rice, Justice

         ¶l Brian Thomas Norvell (Norvell) appeals his conviction of aggravated assault, in violation of § 45-5-202, MCA, upon his no contest plea, in the Nineteenth Judicial District Court, Lincoln County. We reverse and remand for dismissal without prejudice.

         ¶2 We consider the following issue:

Did the District Court err by denying Norvell's motion to dismiss for unnecessary delay between his arrest and initial appearance?

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶3 As alleged, on May 9, 2016, Norvell struck a cyclist with his car while driving on a highway near Libby, Montana. Norvell initially fled, but soon returned to the collision scene in a different car while law enforcement was investigating. Norvell approached United States Border Patrol Agent Luis Granado (Granado), who was the first law enforcement officer to arrive on the scene, said "I am the one that nailed him," and asked Granado to "give his best regards to the cyclist's family." Norvell handed Granado a wallet, which was later identified as the victim's. Granado observed that Norvell was "pretty worked up" and "breathing heavy." Norvell indicated he was going to leave the scene, so Granado had Norvell wait in a law enforcement vehicle until additional law enforcement arrived.

         ¶4 Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Anthony Jenson (Jenson) responded to the scene and took over the investigation. Jenson made contact with Norvell, who refused to answer questions. Jenson observed that Norvell's eyes were red, bloodshot, and watery. Because Norvell was detained in a law enforcement vehicle, Jenson advised Norvell of his Miranda rights. Jenson then continued investigating, including speaking to a witness and documenting the scene.

         ¶5 Jenson learned that Norvell was on probation for a prior felony offense in Idaho. Jenson contacted Norvell's probation officer, Darrell Vanderhoef (Vanderhoef), who advised Jenson that Norvell had violated his probation by operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and fleeing the scene of a crash involving injury. Vanderhoef verbally authorized Jenson to arrest Norvell, so Jenson took Norvell into custody for violation of probation and transported him to the Lincoln County Detention Center (Detention Center).

         ¶6 The next day, May 10, Vanderhoef filed an authorization to pick up and hold Norvell with the Detention Center, and met with Norvell there. Norvell told Vanderhoef that he had driven his vehicle someplace into the woods between the crash scene and the Koocanusa Bridge. Law enforcement located Norvell's vehicle near that location several hours later, although the ...


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