Louis County District Court File No. 69HI-CR-14-823
in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
Swanson, Attorney General, Edwin W. Stockmeyer, Assistant
Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Mark S. Rubin, St.
Louis County Attorney, Duluth, Minnesota (for respondent).
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Sara J.
Euteneuer, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota
Considered and decided by Ross, Presiding Judge; Cleary,
Chief Judge; and Jesson, Judge.
expressing the mere hope that another person will be subject
to a crime of violence, unaccompanied by additional
statements or conduct demonstrating that future crimes of
violence could follow, do not constitute threats for purposes
of establishing the crime of terroristic threats.
CLEARY, Chief Judge.
Gregory Allen Olson challenges his conviction for terroristic
threats, arguing that his expressions of hope that a state
trooper would be shot do not constitute threats for purposes
of establishing that crime. Because Olson's statements do
not amount to direct or indirect threats of a future crime of
violence, they do not constitute threats as a matter of law,
and we reverse Olson's terroristic-threats conviction. We
affirm Olson's test-refusal and fourth-degree
driving-while-impaired (DWI) convictions, and we remand for
October 27, 2014, Olson and his friend, G.R., met at 10:00
a.m. at a bar and had a couple of drinks before starting
their trip from Chisago City to Olson's property in St.
Louis County. After meeting, they traveled together in one
vehicle. Along the way, they stopped at several bars where
they consumed beer and mixed drinks. G.R. took over driving
at one point because he was a "better driver."
had two more "tall" mixed drinks at a restaurant
and bar near Ash Lake where G.R. had a property. Olson and
G.R. left the restaurant around 6:00 p.m. As they were
leaving, Olson urinated on the restaurant's deck. Olson
had trouble walking to the vehicle, and then he started to
dance a "little kind of soft shoe shuffle move" in
front of the vehicle's headlights as G.R. sat in the
driver's seat. Olson fell over twice, striking his head
against rocks. Olson was bleeding profusely but rejected
G.R.'s efforts to help him and insisted on leaving.
started to drive to G.R.'s property, but Olson told G.R.
he wanted to return home to Chisago City. G.R. noticed that
Olson's demeanor changed after he fell. While G.R. was
driving, Olson asked G.R. several strange questions, such as
why G.R. had punched him, and "how come those people
jumped me in the parking lot." Olson became more
agitated and repeatedly told G.R. he was going the wrong way,
although G.R. was following a route familiar to Olson. Olson
became nonsensical, threatened to shoot G.R. if he did not
pull over, tried to bite G.R.'s right forearm, and even
tried to turn the ignition off while the vehicle was
travelling 65-70 miles an hour. G.R. tried to restrain Olson
with his right arm while driving, but Olson tried to punch
G.R., touching G.R.'s jaw. G.R. then pulled the car over,
and Olson took the keys. G.R. thought Olson was too drunk to
drive and was afraid for his own safety, so he left the scene
and called a friend.
10:19 p.m., a state trooper observed Olson parked in the
vehicle on the right shoulder of Highway 53 with its tires on
the fog line. The trooper stopped because the vehicle was a
safety hazard. Approaching from the passenger-side window,
the trooper noticed that Olson was shaking, covered in blood,
and had a golf-ball-sized lump on his head. Olson said that
he had been beaten up, but he denied needing medical
attention and did not want the trooper to call an ambulance.
Olson reported that he was on his way to Forest Lake, but his
vehicle faced the opposite direction. The trooper thought
Olson was unable to drive and ordered him to stay in his
vehicle while he obtained gauze for Olson's head.
replied, "You know what I would do if I was you is get
your gun out and shoot my ass. . . . Because I'm leaving,
" and he then fled in his vehicle. The trooper pursued
Olson for about one and a half miles north, stopped
Olson's vehicle, and placed Olson under arrest. While
cuffing Olson, the trooper asked him if he had any weapons,
and Olson replied, "Yeah, my pecker. No I don't have
any f---ing weapons . . . . Why don't you go get a job? .
. . Harassing a person is not a f---ing job." At that
point, the trooper noticed that Olson had urinated on
himself, had glassy eyes, had an unsteady gait, and was
emitting an odor of alcohol. Olson admitted to drinking four
or five beers, and he refused to perform field sobriety tests
or take a preliminary breath test. While in the patrol car,
the trooper read Olson the Minnesota implied-consent
TROOPER: Minnesota law requires you to take a test to
determine if you are under the influence of alcohol.
OLSON: I wouldn't trust you assholes for nothing. None of
you. You are all assholes. I get beat up, I'm hurting, I
stopped to make a phone call, and now I'm the dick. Just
leave me alone.
TROOPER: Refusal to take a test is a crime.
OLSON: Yeah, you're the loser, pal, not me, you f---ing