Supreme Court Opinions


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FILED Wednesday, February 10, 2016


A14-1452     State of Minnesota, Respondent, vs. Amanda Lea Peltier, Appellant.
                      Pope County.
           1.   The instruction given to the jury describing the elements of first-degree child abuse murder, Minn. Stat. § 609.185(a)(5) (2014), including malicious punishment of a child as a type of child abuse, constituted plain error because the instruction failed to include the elements of malicious punishment of a child under Minn. Stat. § 609.377, subd. 1 (2014).  The appellant, however, failed to establish that the erroneous jury instruction affected her substantial rights.
           2.   The district court did not err in admitting expert testimony that commented on the form of abuse because there was no reasonable likelihood that testimony significantly affected the verdict.
           3.   The prosecutor made several remarks that were improper, but those remarks did not affect the defendant’s substantial rights.
           Affirmed.  Justice Christopher J. Dietzen.
           Took no part, Justice Natalie E. Hudson.

A14-0431     State of Minnesota, Appellant, vs. Jimmy Dawayne Lester, Respondent.
                      Court of Appeals.
           The warrantless search of respondent’s car was lawful under the automobile exception because there was probable cause to believe that the car contained a controlled substance.
           Reversed and remanded.  Justice Wilhelmina M. Wright.
           Took no part, Justice Natalie E. Hudson.

A15-0724     Brent R. Wilcox, et al., Plaintiffs/Appellants, vs. State Farm Fire and Casualty
                      Company, Defendant/Respondent.
                      United States District Court, District of Minnesota.
           When a homeowner’s insurance policy does not define the term “actual cash value,” it is for the trier of fact to determine whether labor costs embedded in the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property are depreciable for the purpose of calculating the actual cash value of a covered loss.
           Certified question, as reformulated, answered in the affirmative.  Justice Wilhelmina M. Wright.
           Took no part, Justice David R. Stras and Justice Natalie E. Hudson

A15-1205     Keith Richard Rossberg, Appellant, vs. State of Minnesota, Respondent.
                      Wright County.
           1.   The postconviction judge erred by ruling on appellant’s motion to disqualify the postconviction judge for cause rather than referring the motion to the chief judge of the judicial district. 
           2.   The failure to refer appellant’s disqualification motion to the chief judge was harmless in this case because the motion lacked merit.
           3.   Because it is undisputed that appellant’s postconviction petition was submitted to the court without factual support, the postconviction court did not abuse its discretion by denying both appellant’s request for additional time to file an addendum to the petition and appellant’s petition.
           Affirmed.  Justice Wilhelmina M. Wright.

A14-0804     In re Petition for Disciplinary Action against Paul Roland Rambow, a Minnesota
                      Attorney, Registration No. 0169389.
                      Supreme Court.
           Disbarment is the appropriate sanction for an attorney who misappropriated client funds; forged, or allowed his staff to forge, endorsements on clients’ settlement checks and medical reimbursement checks; failed to maintain required trust account books and records; made false statements to the Director and to an ethics investigator; failed to cooperate during the disciplinary investigation; violated multiple court orders; improperly billed clients; failed to communicate adequately and act diligently on client matters; took unauthorized actions on behalf of former clients after the termination of representation; released confidential client information to third parties; engaged in a conflict of interest; and engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
           Disbarred.  Per Curiam.


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FILED Wednesday, January 27, 2016

(Petitioner indicated in Italic Type)

1.        State of Minnesota vs. Benjamin Paul Adams – A14-1891 – Denied
2.        State of Minnesota vs. Dean William Crider – A14-2069 – Denied
3.        State of Minnesota vs. Calvin James Jennings – A14-1853 – Denied
4.        Randy T. Anderson vs. Spec Plating, Inc. – A15-0089 – Denied
5.        State of Minnesota vs. Isaiah Triell Hall – A14-0841 – Denied
6.        State of Minnesota vs. George Cornelius Watkins – A14-1779 – Denied
7.        Jay Nygard, et al. vs. Patrick Walsh, et al. – A15-0272 – Denied
8.        State of Minnesota, ex rel. Demetris L. Duncan vs. Tom Roy, Commissioner of
           Corrections – A15-1349 – Granted
9.        State of Minnesota vs. Kelly Jon Brothers – A14-1771 – Denied
10.      State of Minnesota vs. Timothy John Bakken – A14-2057 – Granted
11.      Jeremy Dalton, et al. vs. Minnesota Department of Corrections – A15-1658 –
12.      State of Minnesota vs. Adam Dale Muellner – A15-0335 – Denied
13.      State of Minnesota vs. Jeffrey Travis Elledge – A14-2068 – Denied
14.      Jay Nygard, et al. vs. Penny Rogers, et al. – A14-2175 – Denied
15.      State of Minnesota vs. Thomas Dwayne Brown – A15-0286 – Denied
16.      State of Minnesota vs. Wendell Anthony Greene – A14-0097 – Denied
17.      In the Matter of the Welfare of the Children of:  B.B., Parent. – Denied (1-25-16)