State v. Craig, No. A10–1938.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Minnesota
Writing for the CourtConsidered and decided by ROSS
Citation807 N.W.2d 453
Docket NumberNo. A10–1938.
Decision Date14 February 2012
PartiesSTATE of Minnesota, Respondent, v. Andrew Anthony CRAIG, Appellant.

807 N.W.2d 453

STATE of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Andrew Anthony CRAIG, Appellant.

No. A10–1938.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota.

Dec. 5, 2011.Review Granted Feb. 14, 2012.


[807 N.W.2d 457]

Syllabus by the Court

Minn.Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(2) (2010), which prohibits a person who has been previously convicted of a “crime of violence” from possessing a firearm, does not violate the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution as applied to appellant, who has a previous felony conviction of fifth-degree controlled substance crime.

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and John Choi, Ramsey County Attorney, Peter Marker, Assistant County Attorney, St. Paul, MN, for respondent.

David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, G. Tony Atwal, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, MN, for appellant.

Considered and decided by ROSS, Presiding Judge; HUDSON, Judge; and WORKE, Judge.
OPINION
HUDSON, Judge.

On appeal from his conviction of possession of a firearm by an ineligible person, appellant Andrew Anthony Craig argues that (1) Minn.Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(2), which imposes a lifetime prohibition against the possession of a firearm by a

[807 N.W.2d 458]

person convicted of a crime of violence, violates the Second Amendment as applied to him; (2) the district court committed reversible error by failing to suppress the firearm evidence found during a warrantless search of the car driven by appellant; (3) the district court committed reversible error by accepting appellant's stipulation to an element of the charged offense without first securing his personal and express jury-trial waiver on the stipulated-to element; (4) the district court committed reversible error by admitting evidence of appellant's prior controlled-substance-crime conviction for impeachment purposes; (5) the district court committed reversible error by denying appellant's motion to impeach the credibility of an unavailable witness whose hearsay statements were admitted through another testifying witness; and (6) the imposition of the public defender copayment must be reversed because the district court imposed the copayment without determining whether appellant had the ability to pay under Minn.Stat. § 611.20 (2010).

Because (1) Minn.Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(2), is not unconstitutional as applied to appellant; (2) an exception to the warrant requirement permitted the search of the car; (3) any error in accepting appellant's stipulation to an element of the offense was harmless; (4) the introduction of appellant's prior conviction for impeachment purposes was proper; (5) refusing to allow impeachment of the hearsay statements was not an abuse of discretion; and (6) imposition of the public defender copayment was authorized by statute, we affirm.

FACTS

This case arises out of an incident in which Mounds View police officers stopped a car driven by appellant Andrew Anthony Craig because he was a suspect in an investigation of domestic assault. During the traffic stop, the officers discovered a firearm in appellant's possession. Because of appellant's 2008 felony conviction of fifth-degree controlled substance crime, appellant was charged with possession of a firearm by an ineligible person, in violation of Minn.Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(2) (Supp.2009).1 The district court denied appellant's motion to suppress evidence gained as a result of the stop. Appellant demanded a jury trial.

The record shows that on September 10, 2009, at about 1:20 a.m., a Mounds View police officer received information from dispatch about a domestic disturbance call at a local apartment complex. The original report was that a third party had called 911 to say that a female was running through the hallways and screaming for someone to call the police. The female was subsequently identified as S.Y.

As the officer responded to the call, the dispatcher relayed that the other party involved in the incident had left the scene in a maroon car with Minnesota license plates. The officer noticed the car leaving the area and turned to follow it. Another officer met with S.Y. at the apartment building.

The first officer learned that the maroon car was registered to S.Y. The officer was still following it when the dispatcher advised the officer of the identity of the male believed to be driving the car, who was appellant, and that, according to S.Y., appellant normally carries a gun in his waistband. Based on this information, the officer

[807 N.W.2d 459]

requested assistance from other police in the area.

While following the maroon car, the officer observed that the car had only one occupant. He also observed that the driver leaned and reached over to the passenger seat so far that the officer lost sight of his head. Other police squads joined the officer in following the maroon car.

The police officers conducted a felony stop of the car. Appellant was cooperative. One officer placed appellant under arrest for domestic assault. Appellant also had an outstanding felony warrant, a family court warrant, and no valid driver's license.

While appellant was with the officer, a Ramsey County deputy approached the maroon car and, without a warrant, began conducting what he and the Mounds View officer characterized as an “inventory search.” The deputy alerted the officer to a gun in the vehicle, which the deputy had found in an unzipped backpack sitting on the front passenger seat. The deputy saw the open backpack through the front passenger-side window, opened the front passenger-side door, and looked inside the backpack. In the backpack he found a wool stocking cap; inside the cap he found a .22 caliber revolver. DNA testing on the grip of the gun yielded a mixed sample from which 98.8% of the general population could be excluded, but from which appellant could not be excluded. The mixture from the grip of the gun contained both male and female DNA. A DNA mixture from the trigger of the gun was also tested, and the results indicated that appellant was excluded from that sample.

Appellant testified in his defense. He said that he and S.Y. had been together for nine years and that they have a five-year-old daughter together. Appellant said that they had broken up, but that he stayed with S.Y. “off and on.” Appellant testified that they had been at a tavern having a few drinks, that they got into an argument on their way back to S.Y.'s apartment, and that the argument escalated, so he packed his things and waited in the entryway for his ride to come and pick him up. Appellant claimed that he did not know a gun was in the car, and that when it was shown to him, he said, “That's not my gun.”

Appellant admitted that the backpack was his, but he claimed that the backpack was already in the car, and it was not among the items that he brought to the car from the apartment building. He stated that S.Y. had driven them in her car from the tavern to the apartment building.

On cross-examination, appellant testified that he had a prior felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance and was on probation for that offense. The prior conviction evidence was admitted by the district court for impeachment purposes over appellant's objection.

The jury found appellant guilty. The district court sentenced appellant to the mandatory minimum 60–month prison term and ordered him to make a $75 public defender copayment. This direct appeal follows.

ISSUES

I. Does Minn.Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(2), as applied to appellant, violate the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution?

II. Did the district court err in denying appellant's motion to suppress the firearm as the product of an illegal search of the vehicle?

III. Did the district court commit reversible error by accepting appellant's stipulation to an element of the charged offense without obtaining a proper waiver of appellant's

[807 N.W.2d 460]

right to a jury determination of that element?

IV. Did the district court abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of appellant's prior felony controlled substance conviction for impeachment purposes?

V. Did the district court abuse its discretion by denying appellant's request to challenge the credibility of hearsay statements that were made to the police by an unavailable witness?

VI. Did the district court err by requiring appellant to make a copayment for the public defender without first determining his ability to pay?

ANALYSIS
I

Minn.Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(2), prohibits a person who has been convicted of a “crime of violence” from possessing a firearm. A “crime of violence” includes any felony conviction under chapter 152, which relates to offenses involving drugs and controlled substances. Minn.Stat. § 624.712, subd. 5 (2010), Minn.Stat. §§ 152.021–.21 (2010 & Supp.2011). The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” U.S. Const. amend. II.

Minnesota statutes are presumed constitutional, and an appellate court's “power to declare a statute unconstitutional should be exercised with extreme caution and only when absolutely necessary.” State v. Bussmann, 741 N.W.2d 79, 82 (Minn.2007) (quotation omitted). “A party challenging a statute on constitutional grounds must demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the statute violates a provision of the constitution.” State v. Grossman, 636 N.W.2d 545, 548 (Minn.2001). The constitutionality of a statute presents a question of law reviewed de novo. Bussmann, 741 N.W.2d at 82. Statutory construction is also a question of law, which this court reviews de novo. State v. Zacher, 504 N.W.2d 468, 470 (Minn.1993).

The United States Supreme Court recently held that, under the Second Amendment, an individual has the right to possess a firearm. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 595, 128 S.Ct. 2783, 2799, 171 L.Ed.2d 637 (2008). The Court suggested that such a right is...

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22 practice notes
  • N.H. v. Anoka-Hennepin Sch. Dist. No. 11, A19-1944
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Minnesota
    • 28 September 2020
    ...at 784, 786 n.4, under which the classification must be "substantially related to an important governmental objective," State v. Craig , 807 N.W.2d 453, 462 (Minn. App. 2011) (quotation omitted), aff'd , 826 N.W.2d 789 (Minn. 2013). In all other instances, we apply the rational-basis test. ......
  • State v. Craig, No. A10–1938.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 27 February 2013
    ...of conviction, and imposed the mandatory minimum sentence of 60 months imprisonment. The court of appeals affirmed. State v. Craig, 807 N.W.2d 453 (Minn.App.2011). In doing so, the court applied intermediate scrutiny and reasoned that banning violent felons like Craig from owning guns was s......
  • State v. Clifton, A12-2139
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Minnesota
    • 23 December 2013
    ...to support a warrantless vehicle search must be based on facts that could objectively justify the issuance of a warrant. State v. Craig, 807 N.W.2d 453, 465 (Minn. App. 2011), aff'd (Minn. Feb. 27, 2013). The officer must know of facts and circumstances that would cause a reasonably cautiou......
  • State v. Collins, A13-1176
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Minnesota
    • 21 July 2014
    ...that the district court erred by accepting appellant's stipulation to the prior-conviction element of his offense. See State v. Craig, 807 N.W.2d 453, 466-67 (Minn. App. 2011) (determining that the district court failed to obtain an adequate waiver where defendant agreed to stipulate to his......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
22 cases
  • N.H. v. Anoka-Hennepin Sch. Dist. No. 11, A19-1944
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Minnesota
    • 28 September 2020
    ...at 784, 786 n.4, under which the classification must be "substantially related to an important governmental objective," State v. Craig , 807 N.W.2d 453, 462 (Minn. App. 2011) (quotation omitted), aff'd , 826 N.W.2d 789 (Minn. 2013). In all other instances, we apply the rational-basis test. ......
  • State v. Craig, No. A10–1938.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 27 February 2013
    ...of conviction, and imposed the mandatory minimum sentence of 60 months imprisonment. The court of appeals affirmed. State v. Craig, 807 N.W.2d 453 (Minn.App.2011). In doing so, the court applied intermediate scrutiny and reasoned that banning violent felons like Craig from owning guns was s......
  • State v. Clifton, A12-2139
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Minnesota
    • 23 December 2013
    ...to support a warrantless vehicle search must be based on facts that could objectively justify the issuance of a warrant. State v. Craig, 807 N.W.2d 453, 465 (Minn. App. 2011), aff'd (Minn. Feb. 27, 2013). The officer must know of facts and circumstances that would cause a reasonably cautiou......
  • Dereje v. State, No. A11–1147.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Minnesota
    • 2 April 2012
    ...to certain evidence without requiring testimony or to elements of a crime without requiring additional proof. See State v. Craig, 807 N.W.2d 453, 467 (Minn.App.2011) (noting that defendant may stipulate to elements of a charge or to prior convictions); [812 N.W.2d 211]State v. Edstrom, 792 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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