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Alleged ND pot grower can withdraw guilty plea, Supreme Court rules

Floyd Eric Hyde

BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled in a 3-2 decision this week that a 44-year-old Minot man should be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea in a pot growing case.

Floyd Eric Hyde pleaded guilty last fall to growing marijuana plants in his Douglas trailer in 2015 and to being in possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.  Deputies with the Ward County Sheriff's Office saw 35 marijuana plants growing in the trailer in May 2015 when they went there to do a welfare check on Hyde. In the majority decision, Justices Jerod Tufte, Daniel Crothers and Carol Ronning Kapsner agreed with Hyde's argument that North Central District Court Judge Todd Cresap was wrong to rule that the deputies didn't need a warrant to search Hyde's home because it was an emergency. Justices Gerald VandeWalle and Lisa Fair McEvers said Cresap's ruling was right and Hyde's guilty plea should be upheld.

According to court records, the deputies went to Hyde's trailer after Hyde's brother called and said the family was concerned that Hyde might do harm to himself because of comments he had made the night before to their mother. The deputies entered the trailer when they knocked and there was no answer. They found Hyde sleeping and also saw the marijuana plants, marijuana and paraphernalia. Since Hyde's brother didn't say there was any immediate threat and the dispatcher assigned the call a "low" priority, the three justices in the majority ruled there was no emergency situation justifying a warrantless search.

Hyde entered a conditional guilty plea last November, but was sentenced to 90 days in jail on three marijuana charges, including manufacture of marijuana, a Class B felony.