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State v. Olson

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

December 5, 2016

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
Gregory Allen Olson, Appellant.

         St. Louis County District Court File No. 69HI-CR-14-823

         Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

          Lori 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 (for appellant).

          Considered and decided by Ross, Presiding Judge; Cleary, Chief Judge; and Jesson, Judge.


         Statements 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.

         Appellant 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 resentencing.


         On 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."

         Olson 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.

         They 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.

         At 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.

         Olson 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 advisory:

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 ...

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