Hennepin County District Court File No. 010170958
Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief
Judge, and Minge, Judge.
In reviewing a sufficiency of the evidence claim on appeal from conviction after a Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subd. 3, trial on stipulated facts, the reviewing court reviews the entire record in the light most favorable to the conviction and, under Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01 subd. 2, presumes specific findings of fact essential to sustain the conviction consistent with the district court's general finding of guilt.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stoneburner, Judge
Appellant Aldo Acosta Dominguez was found guilty of kidnapping after submitting to a trial on stipulated facts under Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subd. 3. Dominguez appeals his conviction, arguing that because the district court did not make any findings with regard to his intent to commit a felony after having confined or restrained the victims, the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. Dominguez also alleges that the district court abused its discretion by imposing an upward sentencing departure.
E.P. and L.H. were taken from their car at gunpoint in the early morning hours as they returned home from a party. They were forced into a car with three Spanish-speaking men and were eventually driven to a park where two additional Spanish-speaking men, who presumably drove E.P.'s car to the location, joined the group. E.P. and L.H. were forced at gunpoint to kneel on the ground and the men demanded the women's cash and credit cards. Two of the men then led L.H. away. The three remaining men forced E.P into her own car. In the car, one of the men kissed E.P. and put his arm around her. At a location near Hidden Beach, E.P. was forced out of the car and two of the men attempted to take her into the woods. E.P. was able to escape and call the police. The police found appellant Aldo Acosta Dominguez and Jesus Flores-Acosta at the location near Hidden Beach, sitting in E.P.'s car with a sawed-off shotgun. E.P. identified Dominguez and Flores-Acosta as the two men who attempted to take her into the woods. The other men involved in the crime were never identified.
Dominguez and Flores-Acosta were charged with (1) aiding and abetting the kidnapping of L.H.; (2) kidnapping E.P.; (3) first-degree aggravated robbery of L.H.; (4) first-degree aggravated robbery of E.P.; (5) attempted first-degree criminal sexual conduct; and (6) theft of a motor vehicle. Under an agreement, the charges were amended to one count of aiding and abetting the kidnapping of both victims. Dominguez and Flores-Acosta waived their rights to a jury trial and agreed to a court trial on stipulated facts under Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subd. 3. The state agreed to a sentencing cap of 60 months. The district court found Dominguez and Flores-Acosta guilty of the amended kidnapping charge and imposed a 60-month sentence, which represents a 24-month upward departure from the sentencing guidelines. Dominguez filed this appeal.*fn1
Is an appellate court limited to an examination of the district court's explicit findings when reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence for a conviction after a trial on stipulated facts?
Did the district court abuse its discretion by imposing an upward ...