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State v. Broten

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

September 3, 2013

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Stephanie Ann Broten, Appellant.

Anoka County District Court File No. 02-CR-12-3222

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Anthony C. Palumbo, Anoka County Attorney, M. Katherine Doty, Assistant County Attorney, Anoka, Minnesota (for respondent)

Tyler Bliss, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Connolly, Presiding Judge; Larkin, Judge; and Cleary, Judge.

SYLLABUS

Proof of bodily harm is not required for a conviction of malicious punishment of a child under Minn. Stat. § 609.377, subd. 1 (2010). Minn. Stat. § 609.377 (2010) is not unconstitutionally vague.

OPINION

CLEARY, Judge

Appellant challenges her conviction of malicious punishment of a child in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.377, subd. 1, arguing that the district court erred when it determined that a conviction under the statute does not require proof of bodily harm. Appellant alternatively argues that, if proof of bodily harm is not required, the statute is unconstitutionally vague. We affirm.

FACTS

In May 2012, officers from the Fridley Police Department were dispatched to a townhome in Fridley to investigate a report of a girl with a shaved head being forced to run outside wearing a diaper. An individual had called 911 to report that S.C.C., who was twelve years old, had been outside for over 30 minutes wearing only a diaper and a tank top. The individual also reported that S.C.C. was being disciplined for receiving an "F" on her report card and that her parents had shaved her head as part of the punishment. When officers arrived at the townhome, approximately 30 to 50 people, including several adult men and teenage boys, had gathered to watch S.C.C. S.C.C.'s head had been shaved recently, and she was crying hysterically. S.C.C.'s mother, appellant Stephanie Ann Broten, told officers that she did not understand what the problem was and that she was simply disciplining her child by embarrassing her. Appellant's husband stated that S.C.C. had been warned several times that she would be forced to shave her head and wear a diaper if she did not start listening in school and getting better grades. S.C.C. explained that appellant had shaved her head and that appellant's husband had forced her to put on the diaper. S.C.C. also stated that she had been forced to go outside and run to the basketball court and back; that she had done that five times before the officers arrived; that one of her classmates from school had seen her and was calling her name while she was running; and that she told her classmate to leave her alone.

Appellant was charged with one count of malicious punishment of a child in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.377, subd. 1. She waived her right to a jury trial pursuant to Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01, subd. 4, to obtain appellate review of a pretrial ruling. See State v. Lothenbach, 296 N.W.2d 854, 857–58 (Minn. 1980). The district court found her guilty, and this appeal follows.

ISSUES

I. Does a conviction under Minn. Stat. § 609.377 require proof of bodily harm?

II. If a conviction under Minn. Stat. ยง 609.377 does not require proof of bodily harm, is that ...


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