Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CR-12-28071
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Susan L. Segal, Minneapolis City Attorney, Dawn M. Knutson, Assistant City Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Stephen L. Smith, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Schellhas, Presiding Judge; Stauber, Judge; and Bjorkman, Judge.
Appellant challenges his convictions of consuming alcohol in public under Minneapolis, Minn., Code of Ordinances (MCO) § 364.40 (2012), and loitering with an open bottle of alcohol under MCO § 364.45 (2012). Appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. We affirm.
In late August 2012, appellant Ron Epps stood at a bus stop at Seventh Street and Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, carrying a paper bag. Two Hennepin County deputy sheriffs arrested Epps after observing him drink from a Budweiser beer can located in the paper bag. The deputies testified that they knew the can was a Budweiser can because of its red and white coloring, and that they observed Epps trying to consume the beer quickly when he noticed them approaching. After Epps's arrest, the deputies poured the contents of the beer can into a container for testing and placed the container in an evidence locker. A forensic scientist with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension offered unchallenged testimony that she tested a sample of the contents of the container and that it consisted of 3.76% ethyl alcohol by weight—a level consistent with beer.
Epps testified that the deputies approached him because he was urinating. He was waiting for a particular bus line that runs infrequently. He did not have any beer; he had a sealed bottle of vodka in his paper bag.
A jury convicted Epps on both alcohol-related charges. This appeal follows.
Epps argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions of consuming alcohol in public and loitering with an open bottle of alcohol. Minneapolis City Ordinance section 364.40, in pertinent part, prohibits (1) "consum[ing] intoxicating liquor as defined by Minnesota Statutes, Section 340A.101, Subdivision 14" (2) while "on a public street, highway, alley, sidewalk, boulevard, or any place frequented by the public" or "on any private property without the consent of the owner of such property." Minneapolis City Ordinance section 364.45, in pertinent part, prohibits:
"[(1)] loiter[ing] in any public street, highway, alley, sidewalk, boulevard or any other public property, or on any private property without consent of the owner of such property, [(2)] while in possession of any bottle or other receptacle containing intoxicating liquor or non-intoxicating malt liquor which has been opened, or the seal broken, or the ...