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State v. Kremmin

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

January 3, 2017

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Ronald Gene Kremmin, Appellant.

         Rice County District Court File No. 66-CR-15-941

         Reversed.

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and

          John Fossum, Rice County Attorney, Terence J. Swihart, Assistant County Attorney, Faribault, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Richard Schmitz, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Bjorkman, Presiding Judge; Connolly, Judge; and Reilly, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         The plain language of Minn. Stat. § 609.605, subd. 1(b)(8) (2014), which defines the crime of trespass, requires both a command to leave the property and a command not to return to the property.

          OPINION

          CONNOLLY, Judge.

         Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction for misdemeanor trespassing, arguing that the property owner did not tell him to leave the property and that the plain language of the statute requires both a command to leave and a command not to return. Because the plain language of Minn. Stat. § 609.605, subd. 1(b)(8), requires both commands, we reverse appellant's conviction.

         FACTS

         Appellant Ronald Gene Kremmin and his wife had separated at the time of the charged offense, and appellant's wife and son lived at the house of S.S. Appellant's wife knew S.S. because S.S. boards horses, including the horse co-owned by appellant and his wife. On April 8, 2015, appellant went to S.S.'s property and took the co-owned horse back to his farm. Later that day when S.S. and appellant's wife realized the horse was gone, they went to appellant's farm to retrieve the horse. Appellant and S.S. met on the roadway next to appellant's farm, where appellant shouted profanities at S.S. S.S. told appellant never to return to her property. At an unidentified time shortly after the incident, S.S. told another horse-boarding client, P.M., about the incident.

         On April 15, 2015, P.M. saw appellant drive into S.S.'s driveway, pause briefly, and drive away. P.M. told S.S., who called the police. A deputy took statements from S.S. and P.M. P.M. described the truck she saw to the deputy, and the deputy drove past appellant's house to confirm that the description matched appellant's truck. The deputy mailed appellant a citation for trespassing. In subsequent conversations between the deputy and appellant, appellant made conflicting statements as to whether he entered the property.

         A jury heard the case in August 2015. Following the presentation of respondent State of Minnesota's case, defense counsel made a motion for a judgment of acquittal. Defense counsel argued that respondent had not proved the elements of the trespass offense because S.S. did not tell him both to ...


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