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State v. Heinonen

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

January 30, 2017

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Erik John Heinonen, Appellant.

         Sherburne County District Court File No. 71-CR-15-713

         Affirmed

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Kathleen A. Heaney, Sherburne County Attorney, Daniel N. Rehlander, Assistant County Attorney, Elk River, Minnesota (for respondent).

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Benjamin J. Butler, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant).

          Considered and decided by Larkin, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Hooten, Judge.

         SYLLABUS.

         Because a request that a suspect consent to provide a DNA sample does not constitute interrogation under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602 (1966), and DNA evidence is not testimonial or communicative in nature, a police officer does not violate a suspect's Fifth Amendment rights by asking for such consent after the suspect has invoked his or her right to remain silent.

          OPINION

          HOOTEN, Judge

         On appeal from his convictions of possessing a short-barreled shotgun and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, appellant argues that the district court erred by denying his motion to suppress statements he made to law enforcement and the DNA sample he provided. We affirm.

         FACTS

         On June 1, 2015, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at a residence. The homeowner was the target of the search warrant. After encountering and handcuffing the homeowner at the entry to the house, the officers were charged by a large dog, which they were able to subdue. As the officers continued walking through the house, they encountered and handcuffed two more occupants, appellant Erik John Heinonen and another man. After determining that the house was secure but before searching the house, an officer told Heinonen and the other occupants that they were not under arrest. The officers then asked all three occupants to provide their full names and dates of birth and to identify where they had been when the officers entered the house. Heinonen provided his full name and date of birth and indicated that he had emerged from the upstairs southwest bedroom. While other officers were searching the house, an officer brought Heinonen out to the squad car, where he was read a Miranda warning.[1] Heinonen invoked his right to remain silent, and the officer ceased his questioning and escorted Heinonen back into the house.

         During their search of the residence, the officers recovered shotgun shells and a short-barreled shotgun from the southwest bedroom. The officers discovered that Heinonen was prohibited from possessing a firearm and arrested him. After Heinonen was transported to the jail, officers approached him to request his consent for a DNA swab, but did not reread the Miranda warning. Heinonen signed a consent form and volunteered that he had touched the firearm. Heinonen's DNA was found on the firearm, and he was charged with possession of a short-barreled shotgun and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

         Heinonen moved to suppress the statements he made to law enforcement, as well as the DNA sample he provided, and the district court denied the motion. Prior to trial, Heinonen stipulated that he was prohibited from possessing a ...


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