October 2020


When Appellant Dakota James-Burcham Thompson was pulled over for speeding, he told the officer his name was Dakota James Burcham, gave his correct date of birth, and denied going by any other names. A records search of that name returned no results. The officer broadened his search and determined Appellant’s real name was Dakota James-Burcham Thompson, who had an active arrest warrant. Appellant testified that his name prior to being adopted more than ten years ago was Dakota James Burcham, and that he gave that name to the officer because he was “hesita[nt] with law enforcement due to [his] past.” Appellant was convicted of giving a fictitious name to a peace officer. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Minn. Stat. § 609.506, subd. 1, makes it a crime to, “with intent to obstruct justice,” “give[] a fictitious name other than a nickname... to a peace officer... when that officer makes inquiries incident to a lawful investigatory stop or lawful arrest.” “Fictitious” is not defined in the statute, so the court looks to the dictionary definitions of the word, finding it to mean, as applied to names, “a false name and a name that is not a person’s true name, which would include a partial, or rearranged legal name.” Under this definition, the name Appellant gave to the officer was fictitious, and the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction. State v. Thompson, 950 N.W.2d 65 (Minn. Oct. 21, 2020).