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Associated Press, Published March 29 2013

Judge allows convict to remain free pending appeal

BISMARCK — A Mandan businessman convicted of conspiring to sell synthetic marijuana will not have to begin serving his one-year prison sentence until after the state Supreme Court hears his appeal.

A judge last fall had granted that permission to William Nickel, but prosecutors sought to have Nickel begin serving his sentence immediately after he allegedly had a positive drug test last December.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that Judge David Reich refused the prosecutors' request. Nickel's case is expected to go before the Supreme Court in May — the same month he faces trial on the latest drug charge.

Nickel is a co-owner of Big Willies, a smoke shop in Mandan.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.