Kandiyohi County District Court File No. 34-CR-12-610
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Jennifer K. Fischer, Kandiyohi County Attorney, Nathan C. Midolo, Assistant County Attorney, Willmar, Minnesota (for appellant)
Sharon E. Jacks, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge; Cleary, Judge; and Willis, Judge. [*]
Appellant State of Minnesota challenges a pretrial order suppressing evidence and dismissing for lack of probable cause the complaint that charged respondent Kenneth James Klang with aiding an offender to avoid arrest-harbor/conceal in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.495, subd. 1(a) (2010). The state argues (1) respondent does not have standing to challenge the admission of a third party's statement made in respondent's apartment; (2) the police did not exceed the scope of respondent's consent to search his apartment; and (3) respondent's knowledge of the specific predicate crime is not an element of the offense. We affirm.
Willmar police officer Michael Holme was dispatched to respondent's apartment after the building manager reported that Shea Johnson, the subject of an outstanding felony arrest warrant, was present there in violation of a no-trespass order. When respondent answered his door, Officer Holme informed him that the building manager had seen Johnson enter the apartment and that there was a felony warrant out for Johnson's arrest. Respondent told Officer Holme that Johnson was not in the apartment and that Officer Holme could go in and look.
After entering the apartment, Officer Holme came across LeeAnn Behrens, whom he recognized, in the living room; he found no one in the bedrooms. The bathroom door was locked, and the shower was running, but no one answered when Officer Holme knocked on the door. Respondent twice told Officer Holme that his brother, not Johnson, was in the bathroom and that his brother would be upset if they disturbed him.
After two additional officers entered the apartment, Officer Holme directed Behrens into an already-searched bedroom so he could speak with her away from respondent. He asked her whether Johnson was in the bathroom, and Behrens nodded her head to indicate yes.
Officer Holme returned to the living room area and, after he told respondent he knew Johnson was in the bathroom, respondent told Johnson to come out. Johnson came out and was arrested. Respondent was later charged by complaint with aiding an offender to avoid arrest-harbor/conceal. The district court dismissed the complaint, concluding that law enforcement exceeded the scope of respondent's consent to search his apartment.
The state may appeal a probable-cause dismissal order based on a legal determination, provided the state shows clearly and unequivocally that (1) the district court's decision will have a critical impact on its ability to prosecute the case and (2) the district court's decision was error. Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.04, subd. 1(1); State v. Barrett, 694 N.W.2d 783, 787 (Minn. 2005). Dismissal of a charge satisfies the critical impact prong. State v. Poupard, 471 N.W.2d 686, ...