Hennepin County District Court File No. 03036151.
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Huspeni, Judge.*fn1
The imposition of an upward durational departure based on judicial findings following a Lothenbach trial to the court violates the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Halbrooks, Judge
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded
Appellant Todd Allen Johnson challenges his conviction and sentence for criminal vehicular homicide, arguing that (1) the district court erred in denying his pretrial motion to suppress evidence and (2) the district court erred in imposing an upward durational departure at sentencing after denying appellant's request to withdraw his guilty plea. We affirm the district court's denial of appellant's motion, but reverse the sentence and remand for reconsideration consistent with Blakely v. Washington, 124 S.Ct. 2531 (2004).
On the evening of May 25, 2003, at approximately 10:20 p.m., two Minneapolis police officers responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Fremont Avenue and 34th Street. At the scene, the officers discovered that a blue Grand Marquis automobile had struck a taxi cab, killing the cab's driver and injuring its five passengers. The police learned from witnesses that the driver of the Grand Marquis had left the scene on foot. Based on their initial investigation, the officers subsequently concluded that the Grand Marquis had approached the intersection at a high rate of speed, run a stop sign, and collided with the taxi.
A woman at the scene told the officers that she had observed a Grand Marquis going approximately 60 miles per hour past her home on 34th Street toward Fremont Avenue just before hearing a crash; she then ran to the accident site and observed the driver of the Grand Marquis get out of the vehicle, holding his chest. When she approached the driver to urge him to stay at the scene, she noticed that he "reeked" of alcohol. The driver then returned to the vehicle to retrieve a bottle and walked away. A second individual who lives near the intersection told the police that she heard the crash, went to the scene, and saw the driver of the Grand Marquis exit the vehicle. As the driver approached the woman, she saw that he was holding his chest and "looked hurt." The woman told the man that someone had called 911, and the man replied, "Are they on their way? I don't want no part of 'em. I don't want no police." A third woman saw the Grand Marquis approaching the intersection, also heard the crash, went to the accident scene, and saw the driver, who appeared "drunk."
Insurance papers discovered inside the Grand Marquis by the officers indicated that the vehicle was owned and insured by appellant and that appellant resided on Dupont Avenue in Minneapolis. The officers then drove to the address indicated on the insurance papers.
The Dupont Avenue residence is a duplex with an upstairs unit, a downstairs unit, and a common entryway; appellant lived in the downstairs unit. The police banged on the outside door leading to the common area and on several windows of the downstairs unit and loudly announced their presence, but received no response. They also tried and failed to contact the residents by telephone. A neighbor alerted by the noise approached and told the police that she had seen appellant leaving his residence earlier that evening driving a car similar to the one police told her had been involved in the accident at the intersection of Fremont Avenue and 34th Street. The neighbor also stated that a light inside appellant's unit had just been turned off and that she believed the unit to be occupied at that moment. The police then kicked in the outside door and entered the common area.
Once inside the common area, the officers banged on the door of the downstairs unit and identified themselves as police. When a woman opened the door, the officers told her that they believed that appellant had been involved in a serious accident. The woman said that appellant was sleeping. Three officers entered the unit. While one officer spoke with the woman in the living room, the other officers located appellant in the bedroom. Police also brought two of the witnesses from the accident scene to the Dupont Avenue residence. Both witnesses identified appellant as the driver of the Grand Marquis. Police then transported appellant to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where a blood test revealed that his alcohol concentration was.13.
The state charged appellant with one count of criminal vehicular homicide in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.21, subd. 1(7) (2002). He pleaded not guilty and filed a motion to suppress all evidence obtained as the result of the warrantless entry of his residence. The district court denied the motion, reasoning that the warrantless entry was justified both as a medical emergency and ...