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State v. Patterson

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

November 12, 2013

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
Bruce Edward Patterson, Appellant.


Ramsey County District Court File No. 62-CR-12-133

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and John Choi, Ramsey County Attorney, Thomas R. Ragatz, Assistant County Attorney, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent)

Cathryn Middlebrook, Interim Chief Appellate Public Defender, Davi E. Axelson, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Cleary, Chief Judge; Kirk, Judge; and Smith, Judge.

KIRK, Judge

On appeal from his kidnapping conviction, appellant argues that (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction; (2) the district court abused its discretion by allowing an unredacted squad car video of appellant into evidence; (3) the district court abused its discretion by not further redacting appellant's statement to police; (4) appellant is entitled to a new trial due to the cumulative effect of errors at trial; (5) the district court abused its discretion by imposing an upward durational sentencing departure; and (6) the district court abused its discretion by imposing a $1, 500 fine. We affirm.


I. The evidence is sufficient to sustain appellant's kidnapping conviction.

In reviewing a claim of insufficient evidence, this court considers the record "in a light most favorable to the verdict to determine whether the facts in the record and the legitimate inferences drawn from them would permit the jury to reasonably conclude that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Hanson, 800 N.W.2d 618, 621 (Minn. 2011) (quotation omitted). We assume that the "jury believed the state's witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary." State v. Moore, 438 N.W.2d 101, 108 (Minn. 1989).

On January 5, 2012, respondent State of Minnesota charged appellant Bruce Edward Patterson with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, alleging that he sexually assaulted C.A.P., a woman he had recently met at his apartment, on the night of January 3 and the early morning of January 4. The state later amended the complaint and added a count of kidnapping. A jury found appellant guilty of kidnapping, but acquitted him of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Under the kidnapping statute, an individual is guilty if he or she "confines or removes from one place to another, any person without the person's consent . . . to facilitate commission of any felony or flight thereafter." Minn. Stat. § 609.25, subd. 1(2) (2010).

Appellant contends that the state's evidence was insufficient to support his kidnapping conviction because the state failed to prove that his confinement of C.A.P. was more than incidental to the criminal-sexual-conduct offense. In support of his argument, appellant relies on two Minnesota Supreme Court cases. See State v. Welch, 675 N.W.2d 615, 620 (Minn. 2004) (reversing the defendant's conviction for kidnapping and determining that the defendant's conduct was incidental because "the confinement that forms the basis of the kidnapping is the very force and coercion that supports the attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction"); State v. Smith, 669 N.W.2d 19, 32 (Minn. 2003) (holding "that where the confinement or removal of the victim is completely incidental to the perpetration of a separate felony, it does not constitute kidnapping"), overruled on other grounds by State v. Leake, 699 N.W.2d 312 (Minn. 2005).

This case is distinguishable from Smith and Welch. Unlike the victim in Smith who "was confined only momentarily" and the victim in Welch who was confined for an even shorter period of time, C.A.P. struggled with appellant for a prolonged period and appellant prevented her multiple times from leaving his apartment. See Welch, 675 N.W.2d at 621; Smith, 669 N.W.2d at 32. Appellant's conduct was not merely incidental to the sexual assault; instead, it constituted "purposeful behavior in its own right." See State v. Earl, 702 N.W.2d 711, 723 (Minn. 2005).

Further, the supreme court's concern in Welch and Smith—that the defendant not receive a separate criminal sentence for a crime that was incidental to the underlying crime—is not present in this case. In Smith, the defendant was convicted of premeditated first-degree murder and first-degree murder while committing a kidnapping. 669 N.W.2d at 25. Similarly, the defendant in Welch was convicted of kidnapping and attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct. 675 N.W.2d at 618. The supreme court specifically stated in Smith that the defendant's "confinement or removal" of the victim must be more than incidental to the commission of another crime "in order to justify a separate criminal sentence." 669 N.W.2d at 32. Here, appellant was charged with kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual conduct but was only convicted of kidnapping. Thus, the supreme court's ...

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