Appellant was convicted as an adult of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, for an offense committed when he was 12 or 13 years old but for which he was not charged until he was 21 years old. By statute, the juvenile court has jurisdiction over proceedings concerning any child alleged to be delinquent, and that jurisdiction can continue until the child turns 19, or, if the child is convicted as an extended jurisdiction juvenile (EJJ), until the child turns 21. However, a proceeding involving a child alleged to have committed a felony may only be designated an EJJ prosecution if the child was 14 to 17 years old at the time of the offense. The juvenile court can certify a proceeding for adult prosecution, but only if the alleged offense would be a felony if committed by an adult and was allegedly committed by the child after turning 14 years old. The criminal code further provides that children under the age of 14 are incapable of committing crime.
The Court of Appeals finds these statutory provisions “demonstrate a clear legislative intent to limit district court criminal jurisdiction over a felony-level offense committed by a child to those cases in which the child is allege to have committed the offense after becoming 14 years of age.” This purpose is undermined by Minn. Stat. § 260B.193, subd. 5(d), which provides that “[t]he district court has original and exclusive jurisdiction over a proceeding (1) that involves an adult who is alleged to have committed an offense before the adult’s 18th birthday, and (2) in which a criminal complaint is filed before expiration of the time for filing under section 628.26 and after the adult’s 21st birthday.” To resolve this conflict, the Court gives effect to the legislative intent reflected in the minimum age requirement for adult certification and EJJ jurisdiction, and specifically holds “that the grant of district court jurisdiction in Minn. Stat. § 260B.193, subd. 5(d), does not apply if the alleged offense occurred before the offender became 14 years of age.”
Because the offense here occurred before Appellant turned 14, the district court lacked jurisdiction and is reversed. State v. Thompson, A22-1669, 2023 WL 5339997 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 21, 2023).
Appellant entered into a plea agreement under which he agreed to plead guilty to first-degree sale of a controlled substance and possession of ammunition by an ineligible person in exchange for a specified sentence. Under the agreement, however, the State reserved the right to seek a longer sentence if Appellant failed to appear for sentencing. After he was apprehended for failing to appear at two sentencing hearings, Appellant informed the district court he wished to discharge his attorney. At the sentencing hearing, Appellant’s attorney moved to withdraw, Appellant again expressed his desire to discharge his attorney, and the district court ultimately discharged the attorney. The district court then denied Appellant’s motion to withdraw his plea and sentenced him to longer than was originally contemplated in the plea agreement.
The Court of Appeals agrees with Appellant that he did not validly waive his right to counsel. The right to counsel is protected by the Sixth Amendment and, to waive the right, the Minnesota’s Rules of Criminal Procedure require a “voluntary and intelligent written waiver” of the right be entered on the record. Minn. R. Crim. P. 5.04, subd. 1(4). Absent a written waiver, the district court must make a record of the defendant’s waiver, which must include an advisory to the defendant of the nature of the charges, all offenses included within the charges, the range of allowable punishments, the fact that there may be defenses and mitigating circumstances may exist, and “all other facts essential to a broad understanding of the consequences of the waiver of the right to counsel.” Id. at 1(4)(a)-(f).
Here, the district court did not obtain a written waiver of Appellant’s right to counsel, did the not make a record of his waiver, and did not advise Appellant as required by Minn. R. Crim. P. 5.04. While, despite these waiver requirements, the circumstances of a case may demonstrate a defendant knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived his right to counsel, that is not the case here. Appellant’s sentence is reversed and the district court is directed to conduct a new sentencing hearing. State v. Gant, A22-1333, 2023 WL 5340023 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 21, 2023).
At Appellant’s trial for felony domestic assault, the court instructed the jury on self-defense, specifically, that Appellant could use reasonable force to resist an “assault against the person.” Appellant argues the court should have informed the jury he could use reasonable force to resist “any offense against the person.” The jury found him guilty. While the Court of Appeals held the district court’s instruction was erroneous, it found the error was not plain and that the evidence was sufficient to support Appellant’s conviction. The Supreme Court agrees the evidence is sufficient to support Appellant’s conviction, but, unlike the Court of Appeals, finds the district court’s self-defense instruction was not error. The Court finds that Minn. Stat. § 609.06, subd. 1(3), permits the use of self-defense to resist an offense carrying a threat of bodily harm. Section 609.06 codifies the common law self-defense doctrine, which required, as a trigger for a claim of self-defense, force carrying the threat of bodily harm. Prior cases have reinforced the threat-of-bodily-harm requirement. Here, under the facts of the case, the only “offense against the person” carrying the threat of bodily harm that Appellant arguably acted to resist was assault. Thus, the district court’s instruction was merely a tailoring of the self-defense instruction to the facts of the case, which is proper. Appellant’s conviction is affirmed. State v. Lampkin, A20-0361, 2023 WL 5419184 (Minn. Aug. 23, 2023).
Appellant appealed the district court’s restitution order following his second-degree intentional murder conviction. First, the Court of Appeals finds that, although Appellant failed to file his restitution challenge within the required time and failed to file the required affidavit before the restitution hearing, the district court still had jurisdiction over Appellant’s restitution challenge. The Court finds the procedural and timing requirements of section 611A.045, subd. 3, are claim processing rules, not subject matter jurisdiction rules. As such, even when untimely, the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over Appellant’s restitution challenge. Second, the Court holds that life insurance proceeds are not an economic benefit conferred by Appellant on the victim’s mother and, thus, it was proper for the district court to refuse to consider the proceeds in determining the amount of the victim’s mother’s economic loss. A restitution award must account for any benefits received by a victim from the defendant or his offense in determining the aggregate economic loss. Life insurance proceeds are benefits conferred by the payor of the insurance premiums, not the defendant who murdered the insured. Last, the Court holds that the district court did not abuse its discretion by awarding restitution to the victim’s mother for expenses that post-dated the victim’s funeral, as the district court was well within its discretion to find those expenses were directly related to the victim’s death. State v. White, A23-0126, 2023 WL 5519379 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 28, 2023).
Appellant veered off the road and tipped his semitruck after picking up his ringing cellphone to check the caller identification, which showed he was receiving a spam call. He was convicted of driving with a suspended license fand operating a motor vehicle while using a cellular device. The Court of Appeals agrees with Appellant that his conduct does not satisfy the requirements of Minn. Stat. § 169.475, subd. 2 (operating a motor vehicle while using a cellular device). While Appellant was charged with violating section 169.475, subd. 2(a)(1) (prohibiting the use of a cell phone to compose, read, send, etc. an electronic message while driving), the jury was instructed on the subd. 2(a)(2) (prohibiting making a call while driving). However, the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction under either subdivision. Section 169.475, subd. 1(b), includes a definition of “electronic message” that specifically excludes “data transmitted automatically without direct initiation by a person.” The caller ID information that appeared on Appellant’s phone falls within this exception. The evidence also does not indicate Appellant initiated a call, talked or listened on a call, or participated in a video call. By glancing at the caller ID information, he also did not “engage” in a phone call, but was merely acting to determining whether to engage in the call. Thus, Appellant neither send or received an electronic message or engaged in a phone call while driving, and his conviction under section 169.475, subd. 2, is reversed. State v. Gutzke, A22-1444, 2023 WL 5519380 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 28, 2023)..”
Appellant entered a guilty plea to a charge of violating a DANCO and was sentenced. He argues his plea was invalid, his attorney should have challenged his competency to proceed, and the district court should have sua sponte ordered a competency evaluation.
The Court of Appeals finds support in the record for the district court’s decision not to order a competency evaluation. Appellant admitted his guilt, confirmed he understood the plea agreement and his rights, and responded appropriately to all questions asked of him. His responses and comments showed he had consulted with an attorney and understood the proceedings. While he had been found incompetent in the past, this information was not available to the sentencing court. Even if it had, the most recent competency evaluation in 2015 had deemed Appellant competent, and his attorney, his probation officer, and the prosecutor all expressed not having any concerns about his competence. The Sixth Amendment entitles criminal defendants to the assistance of counsel. This right is violated if ineffective assistance is provided. Minn. R. Crim. P. 20.01, subd. 3, requires a defense attorney to challenge a defendant’s competence if the attorney doubt’s the defendant’s competence. Failure to follow this rule is ineffective assistance. That is, “a defendant’s attorney’s failure to challenge a defendant’s competence to proceed is deficient representation if a reasonably skilled attorney would have doubted the defendant’s competence under the circumstances.” Under these facts, however, Appellant’s attorney did not render deficient representation. State v. Epps, A21-0938, 2023 WL 5519405 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 28, 2023).