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State v. Mahr

August 9, 2004


Chisago County District Court File No. K7-03-584.


1. When a police officer's initial reasonable suspicion of criminal activity is dispelled by further investigation, a limited investigatory stop may be prolonged only if additional facts provide justification for prolonging the stop.

2. A defendant who waives his or her right to a jury trial and agrees to a Lothenbach proceeding in order to preserve pretrial issues for appeal may not obtain appellate review of the sufficiency of the evidence; a defendant who wants to challenge the state's proof must either proceed to trial or agree to a stipulated-facts trial under Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subd. 3.

3. Because a defendant in a Lothenbach proceeding concedes that the state's facts are accurate and primarily seeks to appeal a pretrial ruling, the district court's findings in support of its pretrial ruling satisfy the requirement for written findings set forth in Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subds. 2, 3.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Forsberg, Judge

Affirmed as modified

Forsberg, Judge*fn1

Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Willis, Judge, and Forsberg, Judge.


Appellant Mike Thomas Mahr was convicted of first-degree controlled substance crime, in violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 152.021, subds. 2a, 3(a); .096, subd. 1 (2002) (conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine), following a trial on stipulated facts pursuant to State v. Lothenbach, 296 N.W.2d 854 (Minn. 1980). Appellant challenges his conviction, alleging that (1) the district court erred by refusing to suppress evidence discovered during a stop of the vehicle in which appellant was a passenger; (2) his waiver of his jury trial rights was not knowing and intelligent because he did not realize that he was waiving his right to contest the sufficiency of the evidence; and (3) the district erred by sentencing him on more than one conviction arising out of the same behavioral incident.

Because the officer had a particularized and objective basis to make a limited investigatory stop and because appellant made a knowing and intelligent waiver of his jury trial rights, we affirm his conviction. Although the district court transcript reflects imposition of only one sentence, the district court records and Department of Corrections accounts recite multiple sentences; we order these records corrected to accurately reflect the imposition of one sentence.


On March 26, 2003, Chisago City police officer Jennifer Knutson ran the license plate of a Jeep Cherokee that passed her and discovered that the owner of the car, listed as Joshua Budd, had a suspended license. She turned her squad around, caught up with the Jeep after about one mile, and pulled it over using her squad lights. Knutson was unable to see the driver during this period of time, but stated that she could see two adult figures in the Jeep. Knutson left her squad and walked up to the Jeep. She could not see in the back windows of the Jeep because they had been spray-painted black. When she got to the driver's window, Knutson discovered that the driver was a female, and thus apparently not Joshua Budd. Knutson observed that the driver (1) was sweating profusely, despite the cool weather, (2) was extremely nervous, (3) spoke quickly and was laughing, and (4) told Knutson she had been looking for her sunglasses. The driver's physical movements were jerky and Knutson described her as "jittery and excitable." Knutson was not a Certified Drug Regulation Expert, but had stopped other drivers who were impaired by drugs; she formed the impression that the driver was under the influence of some drug, probably a stimulant.

Officer Knutson told the driver that she stopped the car because the registration indicated that the owner had a suspended license. The driver informed Knutson that she had just purchased the car, hadn't transferred title, and had no insurance. The driver stated that she didn't have her license with her and gave her name as Jerilyn Marie Bjorklund, DOB 09/29/64. Knutson ran a license check and found no such name on file. She then checked with the dispatcher, who could find no record of that name. Knutson returned to the Jeep and asked the driver for her real name and date of birth. She responded that she was legal.*fn2 Knutson then asked the passenger, appellant Mike Thomas Mahr, for his license, and he stated that he didn't have it with him. Appellant gave his name as Steven Thomas Marshall, DOB 10/09/84. Knutson continued to question him, because he appeared to be closer to 40, rather than 19 years old. Appellant stated that he had given her his son's birth date and ...

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