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The Supreme Court chamber in the Minnesota Capitol. (File photo)

Supreme Court Calendar: February 2022

Summaries prepared by the Supreme Court Commissioner’s Office

Monday, Feb. 7, 2022

Supreme Court Courtroom, State Capitol Building, Second Floor

Mi-in-gun Justin Charette a/k/a Justin Marshall Critt, Appellant vs. State of Minnesota, Respondent – Case No. A20-1476: In 2016, appellant Justin Critt was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson based on allegations that he killed a woman and then set the house where her body was located on fire. Critt filed a motion to suppress his statements to law enforcement officers, arguing that the officers violated his Miranda rights when they conducted a post-arrest interview after Critt invoked his Fifth Amendment right to counsel. The district court denied Critt’s motion. A jury found him guilty of the charges. Critt did not file a direct appeal.

In 2020, Critt filed a petition for postconviction relief, arguing that his suppression motion should have been granted by the district court. The district court denied Critt’s petition for postconviction relief and found no constitutional violation. The court of appeals affirmed.

On appeal to the supreme court, the issue is whether a defendant can invoke his constitutional right to counsel prior to being read his Miranda rights and prior to being questioned by law enforcement. (Clay County)

State of Minnesota, Respondent vs. Deangelo Shaheed Bey, Appellant – Case No. A20-1097: Respondent State of Minnesota charged appellant Deangelo Bey with two counts of first-degree burglary and two counts of second-degree assault. A jury trial was held. Fourteen jurors were sworn in, two of which were alternates. During the trial, the district court excused one of the jurors. The district court also excused one of the alternate jurors before the jury began deliberating. The jury found Bey guilty of all counts. The transcript reflects the responses of 11 jurors when the jury was polled. Bey did not object. The court of appeals affirmed Bey’s convictions.

On appeal to the supreme court, the issue is whether Bey’s conviction must be reversed because his constitutional right to a unanimous 12-person jury was violated. (Stearns County)

Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022

Supreme Court Courtroom, State Capitol Building, Second Floor

George Graham Pooley, Respondent vs. Barbara Lynn Pooley, Appellant – Case No. A20-1250: Appellant Barbara Pooley and respondent George Pooley were married for 24 years. Their marriage was dissolved in 2014 pursuant to a joint petition in which they agreed to the disposition of all issues. Neither party was represented by an attorney. The dissolution judgment and decree did not address the parties’ retirement accounts.

Five years later, Barbara moved to enforce, clarify, or re-open the dissolution judgment and decree. She asked the district court to award her half the value of the retirement accounts that George possessed in 2014. The district court denied the motion, finding that the parties did not intend to divide the retirements accounts. The court of appeals affirmed.

On appeal to the supreme court, the issues are (1) whether the district court erred by denying Barbara’s motion to divide the retirement assets omitted from the dissolution judgment and decree; and (2) whether the district court misinterpreted the language of the dissolution judgment and decree. (Washington County)

Nonoral: Ronald Lewis Greer, Appellant vs. State of Minnesota, Respondent – Case No. A21-1229: In 1999, following a jury trial, appellant Ronald Greer was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and second-degree intentional murder for the shooting death of K.B. and sentenced to life in prison. The supreme court affirmed. Greer then filed four postconviction petitions, all of which were denied.

In 2021, Greer filed a motion to correct his sentence under Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9. The district court granted the motion in part and denied it in part. The court vacated Greer’s conviction for second-degree murder because it was a lesser-included offense. It concluded that Greer did not challenge the legality of the length of his sentence for first-degree premeditated murder and that he instead claimed that procedural rules were not followed before his sentence was imposed. The court determined that these claims had to be raised in a postconviction petition and were procedurally barred by State v. Knaffla, 243 N.W.2d 737, 741 (Minn. 1976).

On appeal to the supreme court, the issues include (1) whether Greer’s claims regarding his first-degree murder sentence had to be raised in a postconviction petition and therefore were subject to Knaffla’s procedural bar; and (2) whether Greer was entitled to a hearing before the district court vacated his conviction for second-degree murder. (Hennepin County)

Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022

Supreme Court Courtroom, State Capitol Building, Second Floor

Bunny Annette Byington, Appellant vs. State of Minnesota, Respondent – Case No. A20-1441: In 2009, appellant Bunny Byington pleaded guilty to one count of coercion, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.27, subd. 1(4) (2020). As a part of her sentence, the district court ordered Byington to pay $585 in fines and a total of $12,831 in restitution. Byington satisfied her fines with community service and made periodic restitution payments.

In 2020, the supreme court held that Minn. Stat. § 609.27, subd. 1(4), was facially overbroad, in violation of the First Amendment, and severed that provision from the statute. State v. Jorgenson, 946 N.W.2d 596, 600 (Minn. 2020). Byington filed a postconviction petition that asked the district court to vacate her conviction and sentence and to refund any restitution payments she had made.

The district court granted Byington’s petition for postconviction relief in part and denied it in part. In light of Jorgenson, the district court granted Byington’s request to vacate her conviction and sentence. The court also vacated the restitution order. The court ordered that Byington “be refunded any monies paid by her and applied to fines and fees in this case” or “that the court is holding, and has not forwarded on, if any,” and vacated any “civil judgment” that “has been entered solely by virtue of the Restitution Order in this matter.” The court, however, denied Byington’s request that she receive a refund of the amounts she had paid in restitution. The court of appeals affirmed.

On appeal to the supreme court, the issues are (1) because Byington’s criminal conviction has been invalidated and no retrial will occur, is the State required under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to refund any money taken from her pursuant to that conviction, including restitution; and (2) does the State violate due process by withholding Byington’s refund of restitution payments unless and until she establishes a claim for compensation under the Minnesota Incarceration and Exoneration Remedies Act, Minn. Stat. §§ 611.362–.368 (2020). (Clay County)

Nonoral: Fatuma Emam, Relator vs. Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and SMF Mutual Insurance Company, Respondents – Case No. A21-1261: Relator Fatuma Emam was employed by respondent Community Action Partnership of Ramsey (CAPR). She filed a claim for workers compensation benefits based on October 24, 2013, November 1, 2016, and March 14, 2017 work-related injuries. A compensation judge determined that CAPR and its insurer were responsible for certain medical expenses related to the temporary injury of Emam’s nose on November 1, 2016, and for certain medical expenses related to temporary injuries of her left knee and right shoulder on March 14, 2017. The compensation judge denied all other claims for medical treatment and found Emam did not suffer a work-related injury on October 24, 2013. The Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals affirmed.

On appeal to the supreme court, the issues include (1) whether the compensation judge’s findings and determination are supported by substantial evidence; (2) whether Emam sustained a compensable workers’ compensation injury on October 24, 2013; and (3) whether Emam’s injuries on November 1, 2016, and March 14, 2017 were temporary. (Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals)

Nonoral: Joan E. Hurst, Respondent vs. Caledonia Haulers, Inc. and Cottingham & Butler Claim Services, Inc., Relators – Case No. A21-1390: Respondent Joan Hurst was a semi-trailer truck driver for relator Caledonia Haulers. She was involved in two vehicle collisions within about a month. One of the other drivers died at the scene.

Hurst filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The compensation judge found that the treatment she received for physical injuries was compensable for a short time after the collisions. The compensation judge also found that Hurst sustained a permanent aggravation of preexisting mental health conditions as a result of the collisions, and that the post-collision treatment she received for these mental health conditions was reasonable, necessary, and causally related to both collisions. The Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) affirmed.

On appeal to the supreme court, the issues are (1) whether the WCCA erred as a matter of law and made clearly erroneous findings when it ruled that Hurst permanently aggravated her pre-existing mental health conditions due to both motor vehicle collisions; and (2) whether the WCCA’s finding that Hurst’s orthopedic treatment bills were related to her work injury until July 10, 2019, was an error of law and clearly erroneous. (Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals)

 

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