Associated Press, Published August 16 2012
ND convict sues Fargo public defender Mottinger for $5 million
Marcus Royston claims that defense attorney Steven Mottinger, of Fargo, did a poor job of representing him and has filed a legal malpractice suit in federal court.
Mottinger says Royston's complaint is frivolous and should be dismissed.
Royston was among eight people accused of distributing crack cocaine in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson said during sentencing that some of the evidence against Royston didn't make sense, but had no choice but to hand down the mandatory life term.
Mottinger had argued that the life sentence was unfair because the accused ringleader in the case received 45 years.
Citing a new law leveling disparities in federal sentencing mandates for crack versus powder cocaine, a federal appeals court vacated the lifetime terms for Royston and a co-defendant in a ruling Aug. 2, ordering the lower court to reconsider the sentences.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.