Ramsey County District Court File No. K2-03-2511.
1. A defendant charged with failing to register as a predatory offender has a right to stipulate to the prior conviction(s) creating a duty for him to register.
2. Evidence tending to show that a defendant had knowledge of his duty to register as a predatory offender is admissible if it does not undermine any defense stipulation to the prior conviction(s) creating the duty to register.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dietzen, Judge
Considered and decided by Dietzen, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.
Appellant challenges his conviction for failure to register as a predatory offender, arguing that the district court erred by admitting irrelevant and prejudicial evidence and that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the charge. We conclude that the district court abused its discretion in admitting some of the challenged evidence, but the error was harmless, and the evidence as a whole was sufficient to support the jury's verdict. Therefore, we affirm.
On February 27, 1996, appellant Richard Robert Wemyss was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. As part of his sentence, Wemyss was required to register as a predatory sex offender with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) for ten years. Wemyss initially registered on March 15, 1996. Since that time, Wemyss periodically updated the BCA and local law enforcement authorities with changes in address, place of employment, and ownership of vehicles. The BCA annually attempted to contact Wemyss by mail for verification of his data, but the letters were either unanswered or undeliverable to the address on file. As of August 2002, Wemyss's most recent address on file with the BCA was 435 University Avenue in Saint Paul.
On July 10, 2003, a state patrol officer conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle and noticed Wemyss among the passengers. Wemyss told the officer that he was "staying" at 1003 Montclair, in Mounds View, but his identification card listed his address as 1260 Oakcrest, in Roseville. Wemyss indicated that he was on his way to 1003 Montclair to baby-sit his significant other's children and was, therefore, released at the scene. The patrol officer informed police in Mounds View that Wemyss was headed to 1003 Montclair.
Later that evening, two Mounds View police officers contacted Wemyss at the front door of the 1003 Montclair residence. The officers asked Wemyss to produce identification and accompanied him as he retrieved a driver's license from a bedroom dresser. The driver's license listed Wemyss's address as 2466 County Road I in Mounds View. The officers ran a computer check for Wemyss's registered address, which was 435 University Avenue in Saint Paul. Wemyss first told the officers that he had been "living" at 1003 Montclair "for weeks," and when pressed by the officers about his 435 University Avenue address, Wemyss became belligerent and claimed that he did not have to register his residence. Wemyss finally claimed that he lived at 435 University Avenue and only stayed at 1003 Montclair "on and off." After verifying that Wemyss had not registered the 1003 Montclair address, the officers arrested Wemyss for failure to register as a predatory offender on July 10, 2003, under Minn. Stat. § 243.166 (2002 & Supp. 2003). A police investigator later confirmed that Wemyss had not registered the 1003 Montclair address with the Mounds View Police Department.
At a pretrial hearing, Wemyss stipulated to the following two of the four elements of the offense: (1) he was a person required to register as a predatory offender; and (2) the time period during which he was required to register had not lapsed. Wemyss did not stipulate to the element that he knowingly violated any of the statutory predatory-offender registration requirements. Wemyss testified that he understood that he was stipulating to the first element so he could "remove any mention of the prior criminal sexual conduct charge from the jury."
After accepting the stipulation, the prosecutor advised Wemyss that the state would be introducing exhibits of Wemyss's prior predatory-offender registrations and that some of the registrations would mention his underlying conviction. Wemyss objected to the exhibits, arguing that his past registrations were not relevant to the current offense and that the exhibits were contrary to the intent of Wemyss's stipulation, namely, removing any mention of his underlying conviction from the purview of the jury. The state argued that the exhibits were important for the jury to understand Wemyss's compliance history with the predatory-registration statute. The district court found that the exhibits were ...