In re A. A. D., A21-1264

CourtCourt of Appeals of Minnesota
Writing for the CourtROSS, JUDGE.
PartiesIn the Matter of the Welfare of: A. A. D., Jr., Child.
Docket NumberA21-1264
Decision Date13 June 2022

In the Matter of the Welfare of: A. A. D., Jr., Child.

No. A21-1264

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

June 13, 2022


Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-JV-20-3324

Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Chang Y. Lau, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant A. A. D., Jr.)

Keith Ellison, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Jonathan P. Schmidt, Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent State of Minnesota)

Considered and decided by Larkin, Presiding Judge; Worke, Judge; and Ross, Judge.

SYLLABUS

1. A police officer's oral declaration to an unwelcome visitor on private property, "You're officially trespassed," does not meet the trespass-notice requirement of Minnesota Statutes section 609.605, subdivision 1(b)(8) (2020), which predicates a trespass violation on the alleged trespasser's having been previously "told to leave the property and not to return."

2. A police officer's refused attempt to hand-deliver a written notice informing an unwelcome visitor to leave a property and not return does not satisfy the trespass-notice "told" requirement of Minnesota Statutes section 609.605, subdivision 1(b)(8).

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OPINION

ROSS, JUDGE.

A teenaged boy returned to a Brooklyn Park grocery store two months after one police officer told him that he was "officially trespassed" and another attempted but failed to hand the teen a formal notice advising him not to return for a specific period. The state charged him with and the district court found him guilty of criminal trespass and stayed adjudication. The youth appeals from the finding, arguing that he had not effectively been "told to leave the property and not to return," which is the statutory prerequisite to a trespass violation. Because neither orally informing an unwelcome visitor that he is "officially trespassed" nor attempting but failing to hand-deliver the written notice meets the notice required by the statute, we reverse.

FACTS

Police officers Jeremiah Carlson and Nicole Matthewman were on patrol in June 2020 when they were dispatched to the Fast & Fresh grocery in a Brooklyn Park strip mall to investigate a report that unwelcome youth were refusing to leave the property. The officers encountered the group, including fifteen-year-old A.A.D., and began dispersing them. Officer Matthewman tried to hand A.A.D. a written notice that stated, "[Y]ou are hereby ordered to leave the property described below and not return." A.A.D. said, "I don't want that, bro," and turned away without taking the notice. Officer Carlson told A.A.D., "You're officially trespassed from here now so now you need to go." A.A.D. left the property.

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Officer Brandon Schmitt encountered A.A.D. two months later inside the Fast & Fresh store. A.A.D. attempted to hide from the officer behind merchandise racks. Officer Schmitt arrested A.A.D., and the state filed a delinquency petition charging him with criminal trespass. The district court conducted a bench trial, found that the state proved the allegations against A.A.D., and stayed adjudication for 180 days. A.A.D. appeals.

ISSUE

Did the state prove that police "told [A.A.D.] to leave the property and not to return" under Minnesota Statutes section 609.605, subdivision 1(b)(8) (2020)?

ANALYSIS

A.A.D. challenges the district court's finding that he engaged in misdemeanor trespass, arguing that the state failed to prove that he had been given the prior notice required by statute. The parties do not dispute the material facts, and we review de novo the district court's application of a criminal statute. State v. Degroot, 946 N.W.2d 354, 360, 365 (Minn. 2020). We must decide only whether the officer's actual delivery of the oral notice or his partner's attempted delivery of the written notice satisfies the statutory prior-notice requirement. Based on a straightforward reading of the statute's plain language, our answer is no.

We focus on the operative word, "told." Unless a person has a "claim of right to the property [of another] or consent" to be there, he commits the crime of misdemeanor trespass if he "intentionally . . . returns to the property . . . within one year after being told to leave the property and not to return." Minn. Stat. § 609.605, subd. 1(b)(8). The district court determined A.A.D.'s guilt apparently on two grounds. It reasoned first that A.A.D.

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violated the trespass statute "when he returned to the Fast & Fresh property . . . after being trespassed from the premises." It reasoned next that A.A.D. "was responsible for adhering to the conditions of the trespass notice that the officers attempted to give him, even though he refused to accept [it]." We interpret the district court's explanation as basing the guilt determination on both grounds-the oral pronouncement that A.A.D. was "officially trespassed" and the refused written notice that he must leave and not return. We consider...

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