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Solorzano-O'Brien v. State

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

July 15, 2013

Tarun Solorzano-O'Brien, a/k/a Mario Patino, petitioner, Appellant,
v.
State of Minnesota, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CR-06-74377

Kirk M. Anderson, Anderson Law Firm, PLLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Linda K. Jenny, Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)

Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Larkin, Judge.

HALBROOKS, Judge

Appellant challenges the district court's denial of his postconviction claim of ineffective assistance of counsel as procedurally barred under State v. Knaffla, 309 Minn. 246, 243 N.W.2d 737 (1976). Because that issue was previously raised and considered on direct appeal, we affirm.

FACTS

In 2006, appellant Tarun Solorzano-O'Brien a/k/a Mario Patino and four co-defendants were indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree murder for the benefit of a gang. At the commencement of trial, Solorzano-O'Brien orally moved for a probable-cause hearing and dismissal of the indictment, arguing that the indictment was not supported by probable cause. The district court denied the motion for a probable-cause hearing and did not expressly address the motion to dismiss. The state and Solorzano-O'Brien entered into a plea agreement the following day. Pursuant to that agreement, Solorzano-O'Brien pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting an offender after the fact for the benefit of a gang in exchange for the state's dismissal of the first-degree murder charges and an agreed-upon sentence of 176 months' imprisonment.

Subsequent to this plea, the district court dismissed the indictment against one co-defendant for lack of probable cause. Solorzano-O'Brien moved to withdraw his guilty plea and to dismiss the indictment for lack of probable cause. The district court denied the motion for plea withdrawal, but did not address the motion to dismiss for lack of probable cause. Solorzano-O'Brien was later sentenced to 176 months in prison.

In 2009, Solorzano-O'Brien appealed his conviction, challenging the district court's denial of his motion to withdraw his plea and the severity level assigned to his offense. See State v. Patino, No. A08-1005, 2009 WL 2225440 (Minn.App. July 28, 2009), review denied (Minn. Oct. 20, 2009). He also raised several pro se issues, including whether he "suffer[ed] from ineffective counsel." With respect to that claim, Solorzano-O'Brien argued that the issue was not ripe for review, was being investigated, and might be valid at a later date. We considered Solorzano-O'Brien's pro se claims, including his assertion that he had ineffective assistance of counsel, and concluded that they were without merit. Id. at *3. We affirmed the district court's denial of the plea-withdrawal motion but remanded the matter for findings on the offense-severity level. Id. at *1. The district court made those findings on remand.

Solorzano-O'Brien appealed the district court's decision following remand and, again, raised several pro se issues including a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. See State v. Solorzano-O'Brien, No. A10-1514, 2011 WL 1237554 (Minn.App. Apr. 5, 2011). We affirmed Solorzano-O'Brien's sentence but declined to consider his pro se claims because they were procedurally barred. Id. at *2.

In April 2012, Solorzano-O'Brien filed a postconviction petition, claiming that he was denied effective assistance of counsel because his trial counsel "did not demand the district court to rule on his motion to dismiss the indictment prior to entering a guilty plea." The postconviction court denied relief, concluding that Solorzano-O'Brien's claims are barred because they were raised and addressed on direct appeal in 2009. The ...


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