State v. Mikell, A19-0732

Decision Date26 May 2021
Docket NumberA19-0732
Citation960 N.W.2d 230
Parties STATE of Minnesota, Respondent, v. Roosevelt MIKELL, Appellant.
CourtMinnesota Supreme Court

Keith Ellison, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Sarah J. Vokes, Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for respondent.

Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for appellant.

OPINION

THISSEN, Justice.

This case requires us to interpret the proper scope of the Minnesota Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act (UMDDA), which permits a prisoner to "request final disposition of any untried indictment or complaint pending against" him in the state. Minn. Stat. § 629.292, subd. 1 (2020). The statute requires the State to bring the untried indictment or complaint to trial within 6 months after the State receives a request; if the State fails to do so, the district court must dismiss the complaint with prejudice. Id. , subd. 3 (2020).

In this case, appellant Roosevelt Mikell made a proper request under the UMDDA. The State shortly thereafter dismissed the charges pending against Mikell before refiling them nearly 1 year later and then bringing Mikell to trial.

We conclude that the UMDDA provides a remedy only when an untried complaint remains pending against the prisoner. In other words, once the State dismissed the pending complaint, Mikell no longer enjoyed a right to disposition of that complaint under the statute. Consequently, the State did not violate Mikell's rights under the UMDDA.

We are also asked to determine whether Mikell received a speedy trial under both the United States Constitution and the Minnesota Constitution, see U.S. Const. amend. VI ; Minn. Const. art. I § 6, and whether the district court abused its discretion by declining to dismiss the State's complaint against Mikell under Minn. R. Crim. P. 30.02. We conclude that the delay between Mikell's speedy trial request and his trial did not violate his constitutional right to a speedy trial. We also conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion by declining to dismiss the State's complaint under Minn. R. Crim. P. 30.02.

Accordingly, we affirm the decision of the court of appeals.

FACTS

On June 6, 2017, the State charged Mikell with domestic assault under Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subd. 4 (2020). The following day, the district court issued a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (DANCO) prohibiting Mikell from contacting the alleged victim. On August 15, while he was in jail, Mikell arranged for another inmate to place two calls to the victim from the inmate's phone. Each time the victim picked up the call, the other inmate handed the phone to Mikell. Both times the victim immediately recognized Mikell's voice and terminated the call. On August 18, the State charged Mikell with two counts of violation of a DANCO in violation of Minn. Stat. § 629.75, subd. 2(d)(1) (2020).

On August 21, 2017, Mikell made his first speedy trial demand on the DANCO charges while appearing in advance of his jury trial on the domestic assault charge. On August 25, a jury found Mikell guilty of the domestic assault charge. At the sentencing hearing, the district court imposed a 60-month sentence. Also during that hearing, Mikell brought up his prior request for a speedy trial on the DANCO charges.

On October 27, 2017, Mikell requested final disposition of his DANCO charges under the UMDDA. See Minn. Stat. § 629.292, subd. 1 (2020). The district court and the State received his request on November 7. See id. , subd. 2. Trial on the DANCO charges was set for November 13. On the day of trial, however, the State dismissed the pending charges "in the interests of justice."

On September 14, 2018, the court of appeals reversed Mikell's domestic assault conviction due to the district court's error in failing to procure a sufficient waiver of the right to counsel and remanded for a new trial. State v. Mikell , No. A18-0028, Order Op. (Minn. App. Sept. 14, 2018). On October 25, after Mikell rejected an offer to plead guilty on the assault charge, the State again charged him with two counts of violation of a DANCO. Although the State filed a new complaint with a new case file number, the new complaint asserted the same conduct from the initial complaint: Mikell's alleged violations of the DANCO in August 2017. Mikell moved to dismiss the new complaint. The district court denied the motion on November 5, 2018. On January 18, 2019, following a stipulated facts trial, the district court found Mikell guilty of the DANCO charges.1 The court sentenced Mikell to two concurrent 30-month sentences, applying a 545-day credit toward Mikell's sentence to account for his periods of incarceration and detainment for the domestic assault charge and the DANCO charges from 2017 to 2019.

The court of appeals affirmed. See State v. Mikell , No. A19-0732, 2020 WL 2703709 (Minn. App. May 26, 2020). First, applying the factors laid out by the Supreme Court of the United States in Barker v. Wingo , 407 U.S. 514, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33 L.Ed.2d 101 (1972), the court of appeals held that the State did not violate Mikell's constitutional right to a speedy trial. Mikell , 2020 WL 2703709, at *2–4. The court concluded that although the first three Barker factors (length of delay, reason for delay, and assertion of speedy trial right) weighed against the State, the fourth factor (prejudice due to the delay) weighed against Mikell because the sentencing issue he raised was "moot" and his argument regarding witness availability was "speculative." Id. at *4. Second, the court held that Mikell "was not denied his right to a speedy trial under the UMDDA." Id. Although it stated that "the date on which Mikell was brought to trial on the DANCO charges" violated the text of the UMDDA, it nonetheless concluded that, because Mikell's right to a speedy trial was not violated under Barker , Mikell was "not entitled to relief" under the statute. Id. at *5–6. Finally, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying Mikell's motion to dismiss under Minn. R. Crim. P. 30.02. Id. at *6–7. The court reached this decision by concluding that the State did not act in bad faith by dismissing and later refiling the DANCO charges and that Mikell was unable to demonstrate that the delay prejudiced him. Id. at *7.

We granted Mikell's petition for review.

ANALYSIS
I.

We begin with the question of whether the State violated Mikell's UMDDA right to a final disposition of his DANCO charges. This requires us to interpret the statute. We review such questions de novo. Vill. Lofts at St. Anthony Falls Ass'n v. Hous. Partners III-Lofts, LLC , 937 N.W.2d 430, 435 (Minn. 2020) ; see also State v. Wilson , 632 N.W.2d 225, 229 (Minn. 2001) (applying de novo review when interpreting the UMDDA's 6-month disposition period). In reviewing statutes, we attempt "to ascertain and effectuate the intention of the legislature." Minn. Stat. § 645.16 (2020).

"The first step in statutory interpretation is to determine whether the statute's language is ambiguous." State v. Stay , 935 N.W.2d 428, 430 (Minn. 2019). When the plain language of the statute is unambiguous, we follow it. Vill. Lofts , 937 N.W.2d at 435. A statute is ambiguous only when subject to more than one reasonable interpretation. Amaral v. Saint Cloud Hosp. , 598 N.W.2d 379, 384 (Minn. 1999). "If a statute is ambiguous, then we may resort to the canons of statutory construction to determine its meaning." 500, LLC v. City of Minneapolis , 837 N.W.2d 287, 290 (Minn. 2013).

The UMDDA permits an imprisoned person to "request final disposition of any untried indictment or complaint pending against the person in this state." Minn. Stat. § 629.292, subd. 1(a). Once the request is received, the State must bring the case to trial within 6 months unless the court grants additional time "for good cause" or the parties stipulate to a continuance.2 Id. , subd. 3 (2020). If the State fails to bring the case to trial within 6 months and neither exception applies, "no court of this state shall any longer have any jurisdiction thereof ... and the court shall dismiss it with prejudice." Id.

Because the UMDDA is a model statute, when interpreting its meaning and scope, we review Minnesota cases as well as those of other states that have adopted the statute. See id. , subd. 6 (2020) (stating that the statute "shall be so construed as to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law of those states which enact it"); Wilson , 632 N.W.2d at 230 ("We look to other states with [UMDDA] laws similar to those of Minnesota to provide guidance.").

Mikell argues that his DANCO convictions violated the UMDDA because he requested final disposition of the charges in November 2017, the State did not try him within 6 months of his request, and neither statutory exception applies. According to Mikell, the State was not permitted to recharge and convict him over a year after his initial request because the district court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. In contrast, the State argues that the plain language of the UMDDA establishes a right to disposition only in pending cases. Once a complaint has been dismissed, according to the State, a right to disposition cannot exist because the complaint is no longer pending.

Thus, the issue before us is narrow: Did the State violate Mikell's UMDDA right to a final disposition of his pending DANCO charges by dismissing and then later refiling those charges more than 6 months after Mikell's request?

A.

We first must determine whether the plain language of the UMDDA is ambiguous as it pertains to the question raised in this case. See Stay , 935 N.W.2d at 430. When interpreting the plain language of a statute, we read words and phrases in the context of the statute as a whole. See Tapia v. Leslie , 950 N.W.2d 59, 62 (Minn. 2020) ; Vill. Lofts , 937 N.W.2d at 435. Here, after reviewing the text of the UMDDA, we conclude that the...

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