Nicollet County District Court File No. C4-02-491
Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge, Harten, Judge,
and Minge, Judge.
Minn. Stat. §á171.19 (2002) compels a petitioner for driver's license reinstatement to appear for cross-examination at the reinstatement hearing.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harten, Judge
Appellant challenges the district court's dismissal of his petition for reinstatement of his driver's license because he failed to appear for cross-examination at the hearing on his petition. Because we conclude that Minn. Stat. § 171.19 (2002) compels petitioners to appear for cross-examination at reinstatement hearings, we affirm.
In 1993, appellant Randall Homan's driving privileges were reinstated on the condition of his total abstinence from alcohol and controlled substances. In March 2002, a trooper investigating the crash of appellant's car asked appellant if he had been drinking. Appellant admitted that he had had "a couple." The officer then administered a portable breath test and an Intoxylizer test, both of which indicated that appellant had consumed alcohol. When appellant's consumption of alcohol was reported to the department of public safety (the department), his driving privileges were cancelled.
Appellant then petitioned the department to have his privileges reinstated. At the beginning of the hearing on the petition, appellant's attorney told the district court that appellant was "accessible but not here." The attorney then called one witness: the trooper who had stopped appellant, administered the tests, and reported the results. After examining the trooper, the attorney informed the district court, "Petitioner rests."
The attorney for respondent department then called appellant "for cross-examination under the rules * * * and under the statute." Appellant's attorney responded:
[T]he statute does allow for cross-examination; however, cross-examination follows direct examination. I did not call [appellant]; therefore, [the state's attorney] should not be allowed to call him. Furthermore, * * * a plain reading of the statute, 171.19, simply says that the Petitioner may submit affidavits, comma, however the Petitioner must be present for cross-examination * * * [and] indicates if we had submitted a[n] affidavit, yes, [appellant] would have to be here.
* * * A plain reading with the comma is clear, your Honor, and * * * I would ask the Court to make a decision based ...