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Supreme Court of North Dakota.

Jorge Alberto VELASQUEZ, Petitioner and Appellant v. STATE of North Dakota, Respondent and Appellee

No. 20200043

Decided: September 15, 2020

Benjamin C. Pulkrabek, Mandan, ND, for petitioner and appellant; submitted on brief. Reid A. Brady, Assistant State's Attorney, Fargo, ND, for respondent and appellee; submitted on brief.

[¶1] Jorge Alberto Velasquez appeals from a judgment denying his application for post-conviction relief following an evidentiary hearing. Velasquez argues the district court erred in denying his application for post-conviction relief because his trial counsel's conduct fell below an objective standard of reasonableness when trial counsel did not provide Velasquez paper discovery or review a video recording with him. The court found Velasquez's pleas were completely voluntary and his real reason for his application for post-conviction relief was that he was facing charges in federal court, and the conviction would enhance his sentence.

[¶2] We conclude the district court's findings are not clearly erroneous. Therefore, Velasquez failed the second prong of the Strickland test, which “is satisfied in the context of a guilty plea if the defendant shows ‘there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial.’ ” Lindsey v. State, 2014 ND 174, ¶ 19, 852 N.W.2d 383 (quoting Ernst v. State, 2004 ND 152, ¶ 10, 683 N.W.2d 891). Courts need not address both prongs of the Strickland test if the matter can be resolved by addressing only one prong. Rencountre v. State, 2015 ND 62, ¶ 7, 860 N.W.2d 837 (citing Osier v. State, 2014 ND 41, ¶¶ 10-11, 843 N.W.2d 277). The court did not err in denying Velasquez's application for post-conviction relief, and we summarily affirm under N.D.R.App.P. 35.1(a)(2) and (7).

Per Curiam.

[¶3] Jon J. Jensen, C.J. Lisa Fair McEvers Jerod E. Tufte Gerald W. VandeWalle Daniel J. Crothers

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