Half the gallery stood up when Red Fawn Fallis entered a federal courtroom in Bismarck Monday morning.
Handcuffed and wearing orange and white stripes, she sat with her three attorneys before District of North Dakota Chief Judge Daniel Hovland appeared to discuss details of the plea agreement she signed Sunday.
At her change of plea hearing Monday, Fallis pleaded guilty to felony counts of civil disorder and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. Under conditions of her plea agreement, federal prosecutors will move to dismiss the most serious charge of her indictment, discharge of a firearm in relation to a felony crime of violence, and recommend no more than seven years at sentencing, as well as no fine or restitution.
From here, Hovland told Fallis she will undergo a pre-sentence investigation with a federal probation officer in the weeks ahead. She could be sentenced as early as April or May; however, her attorneys will discuss a sentencing hearing date to be determined, possibly in mid-May or June.
Defense attorney Bruce Ellison said Fallis’ legal team will call a number of witnesses at sentencing, details of which are “still an ongoing discussion,” he told Hovland.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Delorme said he may call no more than one or two witnesses at sentencing.
Hovland said Fallis’ attorneys have advocated a sentence of 21 to 27 months, while federal prosecutors may recommend 46 to 57 months.
Fallis, who is held at the Burleigh-Morton County Detention Center, also admitted to a pretrial release violation from last week in Fargo. Hovland said she was unaccounted for an entire day from the halfway house where she has resided since October.
“I hold the court in the highest regard and I know by making a bad choice, I don’t want to offer any excuses, but I hold the court in the highest regard,” Fallis said. “It’s hard being up here with no family or anyone to talk to. I apologize.”
She said her time on pretrial release has allowed her to better her life, from GED testing to diet and exercise to volunteerism.
Hovland and Delorme both said that discussion with a halfway house staff member indicated Fallis has been a "model resident” with “exemplary behavior” apart from her violation last week.
Defense and prosecuting attorneys and the federal probation office will soon submit responses on Fallis’ status between now and her sentencing. Delorme and defense attorney Molly Armour both said they have no issue with Fallis remaining at the halfway house but on GPS monitoring.
Fallis had been set for a jury trial to begin in Fargo next week. She was accused of firing a handgun as officers arrested her during protest activity against the Dakota Access Pipeline in southern Morton County in October 2016.