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State v. Rohan

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

July 22, 2013

State of Minnesota, Appellant,
v.
Stacy Marie Rohan, Respondent.

Dakota County District Court File No. 19HA-CR-12-448

Lori Swanson, Minnesota Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Samuel J. Edmunds, Alina Schwartz, Campbell Knutson, P.A., Eagan, Minnesota (for appellant)

Lynne Torgerson, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)

Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Johnson, Chief Judge; and Willis, Judge.

SYLLABUS

Under Minn. Stat. § 340A.503, subd. 2(1) (2010), subject to applicable statutory defenses, it is a strict-liability offense to serve alcohol to a person under age 21.

OPINION

WILLIS, Judge [*]

In this pretrial appeal, the state argues that the district court erred by finding respondent's right to substantive due process requires that an intent requirement be read into Minn. Stat. § 340A.503, subd. 2(1). Because section 340A.503, subdivision 2(1), creates a strict-liability offense and does not violate due-process rights, we reverse and remand.

FACTS

On November 14, 2011, respondent Stacy Marie Rohan was working at a restaurant in Burnsville, Minnesota. Two undercover police officers accompanied by a woman under the age of 21 sat in the bar area of the restaurant and ordered beer. Respondent checked each person's identification and then served beer to the underage woman. The underage woman's identification showed her correct age. Respondent was charged with serving alcohol to an underage person, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 340A.503, subd. 2(1).

Respondent moved the district court for an order either invalidating the statute under the due-process clauses of the United States and Minnesota constitutions or directing that, to obtain a conviction, the state must prove that respondent intentionally violated the law. The district court held that respondent could not be held strictly liable under the statute without violating her due-process rights. It issued an order requiring the state to prove that respondent intentionally violated the statute.

The state then brought the present appeal, under Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.04, subd. 1(1).

ISSUES

I. Did the district court err in construing Minn. Stat. § 340A.503, subd. 2(1) (2010), to include an intent element?

II. Did the district court err in holding that prosecuting the respondent under Minn. Stat. § 340A.503, subd. 2(1), would violate her right to due process unless the ...


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