Driving after Cancelation
This case considered the narrow question of whether a driver whose Minnesota driver’s license is cancelled or denied as inimical to public safety is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle on private property under Minn. Stat. § 171.24, subd. 5. The State charged defendant with driving after cancellation inimical to public safety after a sheriff’s deputy observed defendant, whose license was cancelled as inimical to public safety, drive a motor vehicle down a private driveway. The District Court denied defendant’s motions to dismiss for lack of probable cause and to suppress evidence and found defendant guilty of the charged offense after a stipulated facts trial. The Court of Appeals reversed defendant’s convictions based on the conclusion that Minn. Stat. § 171.24, subd. 5, was unenforceable on private property.
The Supreme Court held that (1) Minn. Stat. § 171.24, subd. 5, is enforceable on private property; and (2) because the defendant sought appellate review of the District Court’s dispositive pretrial ruling through Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subd. 4, its interpretation of Minn. Stat. § 171.24, subd. 5, required reversal of the Court of Appeals’ holding, which resulted in reinstatement of the defendant’s convictions. Reversed.
A21-0275 State v. Velisek (Court of Appeals)
Right to Counsel
The government provided defendant a process for communicating with counsel on an unrecorded phone line while he was incarcerated. Nevertheless, defendant chose to communicate with counsel and share defense strategies with a third party by a method that he knew was recorded. Concluding that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel was implicated, the District Court ordered the State to use a taint team to review the recorded calls for attorney client communications. The State filed a petition for a writ prohibiting the District Court from enforcing the taint team order. The Court of Appeals granted the petition.
The Supreme Court held that (1) the Sixth Amendment right to counsel is not implicated when the State provides a process for an incarcerated defendant to communicate with counsel on an unrecorded phone line, and the defendant instead chooses to communicate with counsel or share defense strategies with a third party by a method the defendant knows is recorded; and (2) the Court of Appeals properly granted the State’s petition for a writ of prohibition because the District Court was unauthorized by law to order the State to implement a taint team when the Sixth Amendment was not implicated and enforcement of the District Court’s order would result in injury to the State for which there would be no adequate remedy. Affirmed.
A21-1523 State v. Flowers (In re State) (Court of Appeals)
In this case, petitioner was accused of folding aluminum foil around anti-theft security sensors on unpurchased retail merchandise to evade detection by the retail store’s electronic article surveillance system. The issue raised was whether the foil was an “instrument designed to assist in shoplifting or defeating an electronic article surveillance system” under the possession of shoplifting gear statute, Minn. Stat. § 609.521(b). In 2017, defendant was detained by police after employees at a retail clothing store called the police because they suspected that she was shoplifting. The police officers found several pieces of aluminum foil in petitioner’s possession, some of which were wrapped around security sensors attached to several items of unpurchased merchandise from a nearby store. After further investigation revealed other unpurchased property in petitioner’s possession from the two retail stores, the State charged petitioner with possession of shoplifting gear under section 609.521(b). A jury found petitioner guilty, and she did not file a direct appeal. In a postconviction petition filed in 2020, which she amended in 2021, petitioner argued that the evidence presented by the State to the jury was insufficient to support her conviction. The District Court denied the request. Specifically, the court concluded that the evidence presented by the State satisfied section 609.521(b) because petitioner carried aluminum foil into a retail store and applied it to security sensors on unpurchased merchandise with the intent of defeating the store’s electronic article surveillance system. The Court of Appeals affirmed in a precedential opinion.
The Supreme Court held that (1) under the plain language of the possession of shoplifting gear statute, Minn. Stat. § 609.521(b), an “instrument designed to assist in shoplifting or defeating an electronic article surveillance system” means any item produced with special intentional adaptation to assist the defendant in shoplifting or defeating an electronic article surveillance system; and (2) the evidence presented by the State that appellant covered security sensors on unpurchased items with aluminum foil to carry the unpurchased items out of the retail store without detection by the electronic article surveillance system is sufficient to support a conviction under section 609.521(b). Affirmed.
A21-1001 Douglas v. State (Court of Appeals)
Peder K. Davisson was conditionally reinstated to the practice of law.
Randall Fuller was reinstated to the practice of law.
Grace I. Gardiner was suspended from the practice of law for a minimum of 4 months,
General Rules of Practice
The Supreme Court promulgated amendments to the rules governing requests for visual and audio coverage of criminal proceedings to remove the requirement of party consent and give District Courts broader discretion to allow visual and audio coverage of criminal trials before a verdict is reached and paired those changes with clear guardrails to mitigate risks associated with expanded visual and audio coverage. The amendments are effective January 1, 2024.
ADM10-8049, ADM09-8009 Order Promulgating Amends. to Gen. R. Prac. Dist. Ct.