Anoka County District Court File No. 02-CR-10-6442
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Anthony C. Palumbo, Anoka County Attorney, Marcy S. Crain, Assistant County Attorney, Anoka, Minnesota (for respondent)
David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Anders J. Erickson, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Cleary, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Hooten, Judge.
On appeal from the order revoking his probation, appellant Eric Brown argues that the district court erred by admitting unreliable hearsay evidence at the probation-revocation hearing and abused its discretion in revoking his probation. We affirm.
"When this court reviews district court evidentiary rulings, the district court is granted significant discretion and the question is limited to whether the district court clearly and unequivocally erred in its evidentiary judgment." State v. Johnson, 679 N.W.2d 169, 175 (Minn.App. 2004).
Pursuant to a plea agreement, Brown pleaded guilty to first-degree controlled-substance crime, and the district court stayed execution of Brown's sentence. Conditions of Brown's probation included that he not use mood-altering chemicals. On January 31, 2012, less than three weeks after sentencing, Brown was arrested for possession of methamphetamine. Brown consented to being interviewed by two police officers, and in the recorded interview, Brown admitted to using methamphetamine earlier that day.
The state petitioned the district court to revoke Brown's probation, alleging that Brown violated his probation by failing to keep in contact with his probation officer and by using methamphetamine. At the probation-revocation hearing, Brown's probation officer, David Breyen, testified about his discovery of Brown's arrest and the fact that Brown had admitted to using methamphetamine in a recorded interview with the police. Breyen read parts of a transcript of the interview into the record. The state offered the transcript into evidence. The district court denied Brown's objection to admission of the evidence, concluding that the transcript was reliable hearsay.
Brown argues that the district court erred by admitting the transcript because it was not reliable hearsay and not properly authenticated, as required by Minn. R. Evid. 901(a). We disagree.
The Minnesota Rules of Evidence, other than those regarding privilege, do not apply to a probation-revocation proceeding. Minn. R. Evid. 1101(b)(3). Thus, hearsay statements, if reliable, are admissible in a probation-revocation hearing. See Belk v.Purkett, 15 F.3d 803, 808 (8th Cir. 1994) ("In deciding whether to consider hearsay statements of a witness not presented for cross-examination, the hearing officer should consider whether the hearsay ...