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EN BANC CALENDAR

Before the Minnesota Supreme Court

April 2020

SUMMARY OF ISSUES

Summaries prepared by the Supreme Court Commissioner’s Office

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Courtroom 300, Minnesota Judicial Center

 

State of Minnesota, Respondent vs. Justin Joseph Huisman, Appellant – Case No. A18-1710: In 2017, Justin Huisman was charged with first-degree and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The case proceeded to a bench trial and when the parties submitted written closing arguments to the district court, Huisman’s attorney conceded several elements of the charges based on the testimony given during the trial. The district court found Huisman guilty of both charges. On appeal, Huisman argued that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney conceded several elements of the charges without his consent. The court of appeals agreed, reversed Huisman’s convictions, and remanded for a new trial.

On appeal to the supreme court, the issue presented is whether Huisman received ineffective assistance of counsel when his trial attorney conceded some, but not all, of the elements of the charges during closing arguments without making a record of Huisman’s consent. (Steele County)

Nonoral: Dennis Charles Roberts, Appellant vs. State of Minnesota, Respondent – Case No. A19-0389: Appellant Dennis Charles Roberts was adjudicated delinquent after he pleaded guilty to fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance, which is one of the offenses listed in Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 5 (2018) (defining “crime of violence” to mean “felony convictions” of any of the enumerated offenses). The State later charged Roberts with possession of a firearm by an ineligible person, Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(2) (2018), which prohibits possession of a firearm by a person who has been adjudicated delinquent for committing a “crime of violence.” Roberts pleaded guilty to the firearm offense. As part of his plea, Roberts acknowledged that he had been adjudicated delinquent for committing an offense that was listed in the statutory definition of a “crime of violence.”

In 2019, Roberts filed a petition for postconviction relief, arguing that his delinquency adjudication did not satisfy the statutory definition of a “crime of violence.” According to Roberts, the term “felony convictions” as used in the statutory definition of a “crime of violence” should be interpreted to exclude delinquency adjudications. The district court denied Roberts postconviction relief. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the statutory interpretation proposed by Roberts is unreasonable.

On appeal to the supreme court, the issue presented is whether the court of appeals committed error when it interpreted the phrase “felony convictions” in Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 5, to include delinquency adjudications. (Hennepin County)