Hennepin County District Court File No. 01070954
Considered and decided by Kalitowski Presiding Judge, Klaphake Judge, and
Under Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subd. 3, before a case can be tried to the court on stipulated facts, the defendant must not only knowingly and voluntarily waive the right to a jury trial, but must also waive, either in writing or orally on the record, the rights associated with an adversarial trial.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Klaphake, Judge
After an incident at his apartment on August 26, 2001, appellant Lee Halseth was charged with second-degree assault and terroristic threats. Halseth waived his right to a jury trial. On stipulated facts, the court found him not guilty of assault and guilty of terroristic threats.
On appeal from his conviction, Halseth concedes that he waived his right to a jury trial, but argues that he did not waive the rights attendant to an adversarial trial, including his rights to testify, confront witnesses, and compel the production of witnesses. He argues that defense counsel's statements to the court were insufficient to constitute a waiver and failed to meet the requirements of Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subd. 3, which requires a defendant to waive certain rights personally, either in writing or on record. In a pro se supplemental brief, Halseth raises other issues relating to the revocation of his probation, which apparently occurred after his conviction due to his failure to abstain from the consumption of alcohol. Because we agree that the record fails to reflect that Halseth knowingly and voluntarily waived certain fundamental trial rights, we reverse and remand for a new trial.
According to police reports and the complaint, on August 26, 2001, police responded to a noise complaint at Halseth's apartment. Halseth's downstairs neighbor had called police to report that loud noises were coming from his apartment. When she asked him to stop, Halseth refused and told her that she should call the police.
When police arrived at Halseth's door and asked to speak with him, they heard what sounded like a gun being cocked and someone yell: "Come on f***er * * * I'll f***ing blow you away * * * Come on in." The officers heard something strike the door three times while the statements were made. Halseth eventually came out of the apartment unarmed. A double-barreled shotgun was found inside the apartment, and the officers also observed indentations on the inside of the door.
On the date scheduled for trial, the prosecutor indicated that he and defense counsel had agreed to a "stipulated Court trial," as follows:
It is my understanding we have agreed to proceed based on a stipulated Court trial. If Mr. Halseth chooses to waive his right to a jury trial and the right to call and cross-examine live witnesses, it is my understanding that the State and defense counsel will submit a copy of the Complaint in this case, as well as all the police reports * * ...