Anderson, Judge Ramsey County District Court File No. K8002692
Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge, Anderson, Judge,
and Wright, Judge.
1. Prosecution of an individual under Minnesota's "Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm" statute for possession of a firearm after adjudication as delinquent for commission of a predicate "crime of violence" that was not classified as a "crime of violence" when the person was so adjudicated is not a violation of the state and federal constitutional prohibitions against ex post facto laws.
2. Inclusion of offense for which an individual was adjudicated delinquent as a "crime of violence" after the person had been so adjudicated, thus disqualifying him or her from possessing a firearm, and subsequent prosecution for possessing a firearm as an ineligible person was not an unconstitutional application of ex post facto law.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: G. Barry Anderson, Judge
Appellant was convicted of Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(b) (2000), which prohibits firearm possession by individuals previously convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for a crime of violence. Because the predicate offense rendering appellant ineligible to possess a firearm was not classified as a "crime of violence" until after appellant had been adjudicated, appellant argues that retroactive classification of the predicate offense as a violent crime and his subsequent prosecution and conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm was an unconstitutional ex post facto application of the law. We affirm.
On August 18, 2000, Officer Jeremy Ryan observed and stopped a vehicle with a broken taillight. Appellant Mario Grillo was the driver of the vehicle. Ryan discovered that appellant had no automobile insurance, and he began making arrangements to have appellant's vehicle towed. While performing an inventory search of the vehicle, Officer Daniel Collier discovered a.40-caliber automatic pistol in the passenger compartment.
In 1993, appellant was adjudicated delinquent for felony theft of a motor vehicle, an offense that was not then characterized as a "crime of violence." See Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 5 (2000).*fn1 Effective January 1, 1995, Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(b) (1995) was amended to include juveniles adjudicated delinquent for commission of violent crimes as a class of persons prohibited from possessing a firearm. Subsequent to his discharge from court supervision in August 1993, Minn. Stat. 624.712, subd. 5 was amended to include felony auto theft in the list of violent crimes for purposes of ineligible firearm possession. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 5. Appellant was arrested for the current prohibited firearms charge in 2000—less than ten years after discharge from supervision. Thus, on the date of his arrest, appellant was within the ten-year prohibition period relating to possession of a firearm.
Appellant moved the district court to dismiss the charge of ineligible possession of a firearm, arguing that prosecution of this offense was a violation of the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws. The matter was submitted to the district court on stipulated facts pursuant to State v. Lothenbach, 296 N.W.2d 854 (Minn. 1980). Following the stipulated trial, appellant was found guilty of ineligible possession of a firearm. This appeal followed.
I. Was the retroactive reclassification of appellant's juvenile offense as a "crime of violence" an unconstitutional ex ...