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State v. Greene

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

December 30, 2013

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Elbert Eugene Greene, Jr., Appellant.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Scott County District Court File No. 70CR0929371.

Lori A. Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Patrick Ciliberto, Scott County Attorney, Todd P. Zettler, Assistant County Attorney, Shakopee, Minnesota (for respondent)

Catherine Middlebrook, Interim Chief Appellate Public Defender, Rochelle R. Winn, Assistant Appellate Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Hooten, Judge; and Toussaint, Judge. [*]

STONEBURNER, Judge

Appellant challenges his conviction of first-degree arson, arguing that the district court erred by denying his motion to suppress statements he made to law enforcement. In a pro se supplemental brief, appellant also asserts that the district court abused its discretion by excluding evidence of his co-defendant's acquittal and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Respondent state has moved to strike portions of appellant's pro se supplemental brief purporting to support the claim of ineffective assistance of counsel as based on facts not in the record. We grant the state's motion to strike and affirm.

FACTS

In December 2004, a fire destroyed the Prior Lake home owned by appellant Elbert Greene, Jr.'s father. Following an investigation, the Prior Lake Police Department, Prior Lake Fire Department, and the State Fire Marshal determined that the likely cause of the fire was arson. In December 2009, a complaint and arrest warrant was issued for Greene, charging him with first degree arson. Greene's father was also charged in connection with the fire.

Prior Lake police detectives Chris Olson and Rick Denmark, accompanied by a state fire marshal, located and arrested Greene in an apartment building in St. Paul. They placed Greene, who was handcuffed, in the backseat of an unmarked SUV parked down the street from the apartment. Olson and Denmark sat in the front seats of the SUV, and the fire marshal sat in the back with Greene. There was no barrier between the front and back seats. The entire conversation that occurred in the SUV was recorded and later transcribed.

Olson read the Miranda warning to Greene and confirmed that he understood the warning. Olson then asked Greene if he wanted to listen to what Olson had to say and then decide if he wanted to talk. Greene agreed. Olson explained why Greene was arrested and told Greene that his father had also been charged but they were coming to Greene first because "you stand more to gain than your father." Olson stated that the "first one here is probably gonna get the best deal." Greene responded: "I hear you completely." The interview continued:

OLSON: . . . Tell me about the events uh that led to you getting involved with this thing. What the h--- was going on?
GREENE: Well, I think I don't want to talk to you cuz I don't know what I'm, what you're ...

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