Cottonwood County District Court File No. 17CR12161
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, John B. Gallus, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Nicholas A. Anderson, Cottonwood County Attorney, Windom, Minnesota (for respondent)
David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Melissa Sheridan, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Stauber, Judge.
In this appeal from his conviction of one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree controlled substance crime, appellant argues that the district court abused its discretion by admitting evidence of two of appellant's prior convictions for impeachment purposes. Because the district court did not abuse its discretion in so allowing, we affirm.
Appellant Bremer Lee Glidden was discovered in the backseat of a car in which Francisco Mendez, the subject of an undercover drug investigation, arrived to sell drugs to an undercover special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Mendez was attempting to sell the agent two ounces of methamphetamine for $4, 000. Two other people in the car with Glidden were also arrested.
The driver of the car told investigators, and testified at trial, that she was acting as the "middle person" between Glidden and Mendez, who did not know one another. Glidden asked her if she knew anyone who needed drugs and she contacted Mendez. She said that Mendez and Glidden communicated via text messages through her. The jury saw photos of the text messages. In its closing argument, the state characterized the text messages as a negotiation on price for the methamphetamine, and this is a reasonable conclusion based on the photos.
The other passenger told investigators that she was at a house in Windom with Glidden and that she saw him with methamphetamine on the morning of the day they were arrested. She did not know where the methamphetamine came from because Glidden was just released from jail the day before. She then told investigators that she and Glidden went to Mendez's house and weighed the methamphetamine in the basement and that she understood from the conversation that they were going to sell the drugs. At trial, she testified that she did not remember seeing any drugs or scales or hearing Glidden talk about drugs because she was high on methamphetamine at the time.
Glidden was charged with conspiracy to commit a first-degree controlled substance crime (sale of 10 grams or more of methamphetamine), in violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 152.021, subd. 1(1), .096, subd. 1, and .021, subd. 3(b) (2010). On June 29, 2012, the state filed a notice of intent to impeach Glidden with two convictions from 2011, one for fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance and one for sale of a simulated controlled substance. The district court allowed the state to use Glidden's prior convictions as impeachment evidence, but restricted references to the fifth-degree controlled substance crime as just a felony, while allowing some inquiry into whether Glidden was convicted of sale of a simulated substance. At trial, Glidden testified about both prior convictions and also that he had been released from jail around 4:30 the day before his arrest. At the end of Glidden's testimony and then again in its final jury instructions, the district court gave a cautionary instruction to the jury regarding the testimony about his prior convictions.
Glidden specifically denied having anything to do with setting up the deal to sell drugs that day. He specifically denied supplying the methamphetamine for sale to the agent, as well as participating in any planning to sell methamphetamine.
The jury found Glidden guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit a first-degree controlled substance crime. The district court sentenced him to ...