Appellant was charged by complaint with third- and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. A jury found him guilty, and the court imposed a lifetime conditional release term, due to Appellant’s prior third-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction. Appellant argues the lifetime conditional release term is improper, because the State charged him by complaint, rather than by indictment.
Minn. R. Crim. P. 17.01, subd. 1, requires that offenses punishable by life imprisonment be prosecuted by indictment. The Court of Appeals considers whether a lifetime period of conditional release constitutes “life imprisonment” under this rule. There is a legal distinction between supervised release, conditional release, and life imprisonment. Unlike supervised and conditional release, where a sentence of life imprisonment is imposed, a defendant’s release from incarceration is not guaranteed. “‘[L]ife imprisonment’ contemplates a sentence of incarceration from which there is no requirement or assurance of release.”
Here, Appellant was not sentenced to “life imprisonment.” He was sentenced to 140 months in prison and would be released after serving a minimum of two-thirds of that time. He would then be on conditional release within the community. Because his release from incarceration was certain under this sentence, Appellant was not sentenced to “life imprisonment.” For the rest of his life, Appellant does face the potential for reincarceration should he violate the conditions of his release, but any reincarceration would not be due to the original underlying offense; rather, it would be due to the conditional release term violation(s). Thus, the State was not required to prosecute Appellant by indictment. State v. Snyder, A22-0318, 2023 WL 192907 (Minn. Ct. App. Jan. 17, 2023).
Respondent was charged with racketeering and aiding and abetting theft by swindle. The district court granted Respondent’s motion to dismiss the racketeering charge, finding there was no “enterprise.” The State appealed.
Respondent was a district manager for a corporation that sold cell phones in retail stores. Seven employees, including Respondent, were arrested for their involvement in a scheme that involved credit mules purchasing expensive phones on installment plans, making only the first payment, and selling the phone for a large profit. The sales representatives, team leaders, and respondent all financially benefited from the fraudulent sales. Evidence showed Respondent encouraged sales to the credit mules.
Under the RICO Act, it is a crime for a person to be employed by or associated with an enterprise and to participate in a pattern of criminal activity relating to that enterprise. See Minn. Stat. § 609.903, subd. 1. “Enterprise” is defined as “a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, trust, or other legal entity, or a union, government entity, association, or group of persons, associated in fact although not a legal entity, and includes illicit as well legitimate enterprises.” Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 3.
Here, the defendants all worked with a common purpose, to make money from fraudulent cell phone sales. Their organization extended from credit mules to team leaders to Respondent. The activities of the defendants who were employees of the corporation extended beyond making money from the fraudulent sales (the underlying criminal act) to other activities, fulfilling their job responsibilities as employees of the corporation. Thus, the criteria set forth in State v. Huynh, 519 N.W.2d 191, 196 (Minn. 1994) for a RICO enterprise are met. There is no requirement that the corporation was aware of, involved with, or engaged in the criminal activity. The district court erred when it concluded otherwise. The dismissal of the RICO charge is reversed and the case is remanded. State v. Paulson, A22-1243, 2023 WL 351217 (Minn. Ct. App. Jan. 23, 2023).
Appellant, who lived next door to K.F., asked K.F. and her friend A.D., both 14 years old, to come to his home to smoke marijuana with him. They all smoked marijuana and methamphetamine provided by Appellant. After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of knowingly permitting A.D. to ingest methamphetamine. On appeal, Appellant argues there was insufficient evidence to prove he knew A.D. was a “child.” Minn. Stat. § 152.137, subd. 2(b), prohibits a person from “knowingly caus[ing] or permit[ting] a child… to inhale, be exposed to, have contact with, or ingest methamphetamine.” A “child” is “any person under the age of 18 years.” Minn. Stat. § 152.137, subd. 1(c). The Court of Appeals points to Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 9(6), which provides that “[c]riminal intent does not require proof of knowledge of the age of a minor even though age is a material element in the crime in question.” Thus, the only reasonable interpretation of section 152.137, subd. 2(b), is that “knowingly” refers to the volitional act of providing a substance the actor knows to be methamphetamine, not the age of the child. Thus, the State was not required to prove Appellant knew A.D. was under the age of 18. Appellant’s conviction is affirmed. State v. Lehman, A22-0200, 2023 WL 1094416 (Minn. Ct. App. Jan. 30, 2023).