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State v. Mehralian

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 5, 2013

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Alex Mehralian, Appellant.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Beltrami County District Court File No. 04-VB-11-2014.

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Timothy R. Faver, Beltrami County Attorney, Jeffrey R. Nelson, Assistant County Attorney, Bemidji, Minnesota (for respondent)

Alex Mehralian, Bloomington, Minnesota (pro se appellant).

Considered and decided by Kirk, Presiding Judge; Hudson, Judge; and Bjorkman, Judge.

BJORKMAN, Judge.

Appellant challenges his speeding conviction, arguing that (1) the trial judge was biased, (2) the district court erred by reviewing a video exhibit from the bench without providing a monitor for others in the courtroom, (3) he was improperly denied counsel and a jury trial, and (4) he was not provided all of the transcripts he requested. We affirm.

FACTS

Shortly after midnight on July 16, 2011, Beltrami County Sheriff's Deputy Lyan Karger was traveling eastbound on Highway 2 and observed a gray four-door sedan traveling westbound that appeared to be exceeding the posted speed limit of 65 miles per hour. Deputy Karger's car radar system indicated that the vehicle was traveling 79 miles per hour. He made a U-turn and proceeded westbound in pursuit of the speeding vehicle. He passed a dark-colored SUV stopped on the shoulder, activated his emergency lights as he approached the gray sedan, and executed a traffic stop. Deputy Karger identified the driver as appellant Alex Mehralian and discovered that Mehralian's driver's license was suspended. He issued Mehralian a citation for speeding and driving after suspension.

Mehralian contested the charges, and the district court appointed a public defender to represent him. The driving-after-suspension charge was dismissed, and Mehralian represented himself at a bench trial on the petty-misdemeanor speeding charge. On the day of trial, Mehralian requested that the judge remove himself for bias; the district court denied the request. The district court found Mehralian guilty. This appeal follows.

DECISION

I. Mehralian is not entitled to relief based on the denial of his removal motion.

Mehralian challenges the denial of his motion to remove the trial judge for bias. This argument is not properly before us in this posttrial appeal. Rather, the appropriate way to obtain review of the denial of a motion to remove is to seek a writ of prohibition. State v. Dahlin, 753 N.W.2d 300, 303 (Minn. 2008). And even if we consider Mehralian's challenge on its merits, he has not demonstrated any error in the district court's denial of his motion. The district court properly ruled that Mehralian's oral motion on the day of trial was untimely. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.03, subd. 14(4) (requiring a party to seek removal within seven days after receiving notice of the name of the presiding judge, and before the start of trial). And Mehralian's allegation that the district court prejudged his guilt at the bail hearing is belied by the district court's review of the recording of the bail hearing, its explanation that it was simply verifying the nature of the charge against Mehralian, not ...


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