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In re Leslie

Supreme Court of Minnesota

January 11, 2017

In re Timothy Leslie, Dakota County Sheriff, Appellant,
v.
John David Emerson, Respondent. State of Minnesota, Appellant,

         Court of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts

          James C. Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, Phillip D. Prokopowicz, Chief Deputy County Attorney, Helen R. Brosnahan, Assistant County Attorney, Hastings, Minnesota, for appellants Leslie and State of Minnesota.

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for respondent.

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Michael Everson, Assistant Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for amicus curiae Minnesota Attorney General.

          Teresa Nelson, Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for amicus curiae American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota.

         SYLLABUS

         The district court exceeded its lawful authority when, in a criminal proceeding and without the authorization of any rule or statute, it granted a motion and issued an order to restrain a non-party to that proceeding.

         Reversed; writ of prohibition issued.

          OPINION

          LILLEHAUG, Justice.

         On January 14, 2016, the Dakota County Attorney, on behalf of the State of Minnesota, charged Respondent John David Emerson with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. See Minn. Stat. § 609.222, subd. 1 (2016). The district court found there was probable cause for the charge and Emerson was arrested. At Emerson's first appearance, and upon his counsel's oral motion, the district court issued an oral order restraining Timothy Leslie, the Dakota County Sheriff (the Sheriff), from collecting Emerson's deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) for law enforcement identification purposes under Minn. Stat. § 299C.105, subd. 1(a)(1)(iii) (2016). See also Minn. Stat. § 299C.155 (2016). The district court's oral order was followed by its written findings of fact, order, and supporting memorandum, which rejected an argument by the State that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear and decide Emerson's motion.[1]

         The Sheriff filed a petition for a writ of prohibition, asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to prohibit the district court from enforcing its order against the Sheriff. The court of appeals denied the Sheriff's petition, concluding that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction and did not abuse its discretion or commit an error of law in granting Emerson's motion. The Sheriff then filed a petition for review, which we granted. We now reverse.

         When there are issues of law, we review the court of appeals' decision to deny an extraordinary writ using a de novo standard of review. State v. Hart, 723 N.W.2d 254, 257 (Minn. 2006). A writ of prohibition may be issued only if:

(1) an inferior court or tribunal [is] about to exercise judicial or quasi-judicial power; (2) the exercise of such power [is] unauthorized by law; and (3) the exercise of such power [will] result in injury for which there is no adequate remedy.

State v. Deal, 740 N.W.2d 755, 769 (Minn. 2007) (alterations in original) (quoting Minneapolis Star & Tribune Co. v. Schumacher, 392 N.W.2d 197, 208 (Minn. 1986)). We ...


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