County District Court File No. 11-CR-15-1322
Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and
Christopher J. Strandlie, Cass County Attorney, Jeanine R.
Brand, Assistant County Attorney, Walker, Minnesota (for
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender,
Benjamin J. Butler, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul,
Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Stauber, Presiding Judge;
Rodenberg, Judge; and Smith, John, Judge. [*]
Stat. § 609.50, subd. 1(2) (2014), prohibits a person
from obstructing and resisting a peace officer effectuating
that person's arrest.
Robert Litzau appeals from his conviction of obstruction of
legal process by force or violence under Minn. Stat. §
609.50, subd. 1(2). He argues that he did not violate section
609.50, subd. 1(2), because the peace officer he is claimed
to have obstructed was not "engaged in the performance
of official duties." Appellant also argues that the
statute under which he is charged does not prohibit
obstructing one's own arrest. We affirm.
July 30, 2015, appellant was serving the supervised-release
portion of a commitment to the Minnesota Department of
Corrections (DOC). His independent supervised release (ISR)
agent issued an order that appellant be detained for
violating his release conditions by having contact with a
child. The ISR agent asked the Cass County
Sheriff's Department for assistance in "picking
up" appellant. An officer accompanied the ISR agent to
apprehend appellant at appellant's house.
the ISR agent and the officer arrived at appellant's
house, they told appellant that there was a warrant for his
arrest. Appellant responded by walking, and then running,
away from the officer and agent. The officer followed
appellant. After a short but vigorous struggle, the officer
handcuffed and arrested appellant.
was charged with obstruction of legal process by force or
violence under Minn. Stat. § 609.50, subd. 1(2), and
with fleeing a police officer by means other than a motor
vehicle under Minn. Stat. § 609.487, subd. 6 (2014).
Appellant was convicted on both counts after a court trial.
This appeal followed.
I. Do a
peace officer's "official duties" under Minn.
Stat. § 609.50, subd. 1(2), include ...