Ramsey County District Court File No. K5-04-004716.
1. There are two categories of crimes that can be admissible for impeachment under Minn. R. Evid. 609: felonies and crimes of false statement or dishonesty.
2. To be admissible for impeachment, felonies do not need to be crimes directly implicating honesty but rather can be allowed so as to permit the trier of fact to assess the witness's general trustworthiness.
3. Felonies are not admissible for impeachment unless their probative value outweighs their prejudicial effect as assessed through the application of the factors in State v. Jones, 271 N.W.2d 534, 538 (Minn. 1978).
4. Prior felony convictions of burglary and drug possession may be admissible for impeachment, after application of the balancing test, on the broad issue of general trustworthiness.
Considered and decided by Ross, Presiding Judge; Shumaker, Judge; and Wright, Judge.
Appellant challenges his first-degree aggravated-robbery conviction, arguing that the district court abused its discretion in ruling that he could be impeached with his prior convictions if he testified. He contends that the rationale that evidence of even crimes not bearing on credibility allows the jury to see the "whole person" should be abandoned. We affirm.
The state charged appellant Lancintino Antwon Flemino with first-degree aggravated robbery and domestic assault, alleging that Flemino came to the apartment of M.R., a woman he had dated, punched her in the face, and stole several items of jewelry, including rings, belonging to M.R. and her son.
When questioned by the police, Flemino contended that he had lent money to M.R. and that she had given him her boyfriend's ring as collateral. He stated that he went to her apartment to collect the loan but M.R. refused to pay him. He denied striking her and alleged that M.R.'s boyfriend hit her when he learned that she had given his ring to Flemino.
Flemino pleaded not guilty to the charges. During the jury trial, the state informed Flemino and the court that, if Flemino testified, the state would offer as impeachment prior felony convictions of third-degree assault, simple robbery, fifth-degree controlled-substance possession, and second-degree burglary. Flemino objected to the introduction of evidence of the convictions on the ground that none of them related to honesty or dishonesty and that the court's ruling would affect his decision of whether to testify. The court ruled that the ...