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Stipulations Harmless Error

cassiejohnson//December 18, 2015//

Stipulations Harmless Error

cassiejohnson//December 18, 2015//

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This appeal was from convictions of third-degree driving while impaired (DWI), obstructing a peace officer while engaged in the performance of official duties, violating the terms of a restricted driver’s license, and leaving the scene of a property-damage accident. Appellant argued that (1) the District Court erred by (a) accepting a stipulation to an element of the DWI offense without obtaining appellant’s personal waiver, and (b) instructing the jury on appellant’s right not to testify without first obtaining his personal consent to give the instruction; (2) defense counsel improperly conceded appellant’s guilt; and (3) the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction for violating a driver’s-license restriction. Appellant did not object to the acceptance of the stipulation. The Court of Appeals found this was an error, but that appellant did not show that his substantial rights were affected when the District Court accepted the stipulation without obtaining his personal waiver of the right to trial by jury. Also, because the record contains no evidence of willfulness, the evidence was insufficient to support appellant’s conviction of violating a driver’s-license restriction. Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

A14-1072 State v. Wallin (Anoka County)

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