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Danforth v. State

July 27, 2006

STEPHEN DANFORTH, PETITIONER, APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF MINNESOTA, RESPONDENT.



SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. As stated in State v. Houston, 702 N.W.2d 268, 270 (Minn. 2005), this court applies the framework of Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989), when determining the extent of retroactive application of a decision of the United States Supreme Court announcing a rule of federal constitutional criminal procedure.

2. Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), established a new rule of federal constitutional criminal procedure that is not within either exception to the general rule of Teague. Consequently, appellant, whose case was final at the time Crawford was decided, is not entitled to have Crawford applied retroactively to his case.

Affirmed.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anderson, G. Barry, Justice.

Heard, considered, and decided by the court en banc.

OPINION

Stephen Danforth was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Minn. Stat. § 609.342, subd. 1(a) (2004), on March 6, 1996. This conviction arose out of the sexual abuse of J.S., a 6-year-old boy. J.S. was found incompetent to testify at trial, but a videotaped interview of J.S. conducted at a non-profit center was admitted into evidence. On appeal, the court of appeals affirmed Danforth's conviction but remanded for resentencing. State v. Danforth, 573 N.W.2d 369, 371 (Minn. App. 1997) (Danforth I), rev. denied (Minn. Feb. 19, 1998).*fn1 On remand, Danforth was sentenced to imprisonment for 316 months. The court of appeals affirmed this sentence on appeal. State v. Danforth, No. C5-98-2054, 1999 WL 262143, at *1 (Minn. App. May 4, 1999) (Danforth II), rev. denied (Minn. July 28, 1999). Alleging various trial errors, Danforth filed a petition for post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court denied the petition and the court of appeals affirmed. Danforth v. State, No. C6-00-699, 2000 WL 1780244, at *1 (Minn. App. Dec. 5, 2000) (Danforth III), rev. denied (Minn. Feb. 13, 2001).

After the Supreme Court's decisions in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), and Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004), Danforth filed a second petition for post-conviction relief alleging he was entitled to relief based on the rules established by those cases. The post-conviction court denied Danforth relief, finding that neither Crawford nor Blakely applied retroactively to Danforth's case; the court of appeals affirmed. Danforth v. State, 700 N.W.2d 530, 532 (Minn. App. 2005) (Danforth IV). We granted review of the Crawford issue only and requested that the Office of the State Public Defender represent Danforth on this appeal.

Danforth argues that this court is free to apply a broader retroactivity standard than that of Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989), and that he is entitled to the benefit of Crawford under state retroactivity principles. He also argues that, even using the framework of Teague, Crawford should be retroactively applied to his case. We reaffirm our holding in State v. Houston, 702 N.W.2d 268, 270 (Minn. 2005), that we are required to apply Teague's principles when analyzing the retroactivity of a rule of federal constitutional criminal procedure. Because we conclude that, under Teague, Crawford does not apply retroactively to Danforth's case, we affirm.

I.

We recently held that the retroactivity principles of Teague control when determining the retroactive effect of a federal constitutional rule of criminal procedure.*fn2 Houston, 702 N.W.2d at 270. Under Teague, a new rule is usually not retroactively applicable to a defendant's case once the defendant's case has become final. Teague, 489 U.S. at 310 (plurality opinion).*fn3 It is undisputed that Danforth's case was final before Crawford was decided.*fn4

For the first time in his brief to this court, Danforth argues that this court is free to apply a broader retroactivity standard than that in Teague and that he is entitled to the benefit of Crawford under state retroactivity principles. We choose to address this issue in the interests of justice.

We have stated that, when dealing with a new rule of federal constitutional criminal procedure, we are "compelled to follow the lead of the Supreme Court in determining when a decision is to be afforded retroactive treatment." O'Meara v. State, 679 N.W.2d 334, 339 (Minn. 2004). This conclusion is based on American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. Smith, in which a plurality of the Supreme Court stated that the retroactive effect of its federal constitutional decisions is a question of federal law and that the Court has "consistently required that state courts adhere to [the Court's] retroactivity decisions." 496 U.S. 167, 177-78 (1990) (plurality opinion); see also Ashland Oil, Inc. v. Caryl, 497 U.S. 916, 918 (1990). In Houston, we applied O'Meara's principles to hold that we must follow the Teague framework when determining whether a post-conviction petitioner is entitled to have a new rule of federal constitutional criminal procedure applied retroactively to his or her case. Houston, 702 N.W.2d at 270. Minnesota is not the only state to have determined that a Teague analysis is required when determining whether a new rule of federal constitutional criminal procedure can be applied retroactively to cases on state post-conviction review. See Page v. Palmateer, 84 P.3d 133, 134-38 (Or. 2004).

Danforth argues that Teague dictates the limits of retroactive application of new rules only in federal habeas corpus proceedings and does not limit the retroactive application of new rules in state post-conviction proceedings. Danforth is incorrect when he asserts that state courts are free to give a Supreme Court decision of federal constitutional criminal procedure broader retroactive application than that given by the Supreme Court. In American Trucking Associations, the plurality rested its retroactivity analysis in part on Michigan v. Payne, 412 U.S. 47 (1973). Am. Trucking Ass'ns, Inc., 496 U.S. at 178. In Payne, the Court reversed the decision of the Michigan Supreme Court, which had applied North ...


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