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Brooks v. State

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

May 15, 2017

Wesley Eugene Brooks, petitioner, Appellant,
v.
State of Minnesota, Respondent.

         Larkin, Judge Scott County District Court File Nos. 70-CR-09-17926; 70-CR-10-2169 Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CR-10-2851

          Charles L. Hawkins, Arthur J. Waldon, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Brittany D. Lawonn, Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Ronald Hocevar, Scott County Attorney, Todd P. Zettler, Assistant County Attorney, Shakopee, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Considered and decided by Reyes, Presiding Judge; Connolly, Judge; and Larkin, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         The rules announced in Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 (2016), State v. Thompson, 886 N.W.2d 224 (Minn. 2016), cert. denied, 2017 WL 131941 (U.S. Mar. 20, 2017), and State v. Trahan, 886 N.W.2d 216 (Minn. 2016), regarding the search-incident-to-arrest exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement, are new rules of federal constitutional criminal procedure that generally do not apply retroactively on collateral review of a final conviction.

          OPINION

          LARKIN, Judge.

         Appellant challenges decisions of postconviction courts in Scott and Hennepin Counties, which summarily denied his requests for relief from three driving-while-impaired convictions. Appellant argues that the postconviction courts erred by refusing to retroactively apply Birchfield, 136 S.Ct. at 2160, Thompson, 886 N.W.2d at 224, and Trahan, 886 N.W.2d at 216,[1] and by denying his ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims. We conclude that the rules announced in Birchfield, Thompson, and Trahan regarding the search-incident-to-arrest exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement are new rules of federal constitutional criminal procedure that do not apply retroactively on collateral review of appellant's final convictions. And because the record conclusively shows that appellant is not entitled to relief on his ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims, we affirm.

         FACTS

         These appeals stem from appellant Wesley Eugene Brooks's three convictions of first-degree driving while impaired (DWI). A detailed factual history of the convictions is set forth in State v. Brooks, 838 N.W.2d 563, 565-66 (Minn. 2013). The facts relevant to these appeals follow.

         On July 31, 2009, Brooks was arrested for DWI in Scott County. An officer read Brooks Minnesota's implied-consent advisory, which informed him, in part, that refusing to take a chemical test is a crime. Brooks agreed to provide a urine sample, which revealed an alcohol concentration of 0.14.

         On January 16, 2010, Brooks was arrested for DWI in Hennepin County. An officer read Brooks Minnesota's implied-consent advisory, and he agreed to provide a blood sample. The sample revealed an alcohol concentration of 0.16.

         On January 25, 2010, Brooks was arrested for DWI in Scott County. An officer read Brooks Minnesota's implied-consent advisory, and he agreed to provide a urine sample. The sample revealed an alcohol concentration of 0.16.

         The state charged Brooks with two counts of first-degree DWI based on each test result. Brooks moved to suppress the results of the tests because the police obtained the blood and urine samples without a warrant. The Scott County District Court denied Brooks's motion to suppress the urine tests, concluding that the underlying warrantless searches were reasonable under the exigent-circumstances exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement, based on the natural dissipation of alcohol. The Hennepin County District Court denied Brooks's motion to suppress the blood-test result, concluding that Brooks consented to the test. Brooks waived his right to a jury trial in each case, and the cases proceeded to trial on stipulated facts. Brooks was convicted of one count of first-degree DWI in each case.

         Brooks appealed,[2] and this court affirmed his convictions, reasoning that the natural dissipation of alcohol constituted an exigent circumstance and that the warrantless searches were therefore reasonable under the exigent-circumstances exception to the warrant requirement. State v. Brooks, No. A11-1043, 2012 WL 1914073, at *2 (Minn. App. May 29, 2012) (Hennepin County case), vacated, 133 S.Ct. 1996 (2013), aff'd on other grounds, 838 N.W.2d 563 (Minn. 2013); Brooks, 2012 WL 1570064, at *3 (Scott County cases).

         The Minnesota Supreme Court denied Brooks's petitions for further review. Brooks, 838 N.W.2d at 567. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari review, vacated the judgments of conviction, and remanded the cases to this court for further consideration in light of Missouri v. McNeely, which held that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the blood does not constitute a per se exigency justifying a warrantless search. Brooks v. Minnesota, 133 S.Ct. 1996 (2013); Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S.Ct. 1552, 1556 (2013).

         This court reinstated Brooks's appeals. Brooks, 838 N.W.2d at 567. The Minnesota Supreme Court granted the state's petitions for accelerated review, concluded that the warrantless searches were reasonable under the consent exception to the warrant requirement, and affirmed Brooks's convictions. Id. at 567, 572-73.

         Brooks petitioned for postconviction relief in Scott and Hennepin counties. Brooks asserted, in part, that his consent to chemical testing was involuntary because it was based on misleading and inaccurate implied-consent advisories. He relied on Birchfield, 136 S.Ct. at 2160, and this court's decisions in Thompson, 873 N.W.2d at 873, and Trahan, 870 N.W.2d at 396. He also asserted that he received ineffective assistance from his trial and appellate attorneys.

         The postconviction courts denied relief. The Scott County postconviction court ruled that, with the exception of Brooks's claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, all of his claims were procedurally barred under State v. Knaffla, 309 Minn. 246, 243 N.W.2d 737 (1976). The postconviction court also ruled that "[e]ven if [Brooks's] claims were not barred by Knaffla, they lack merit." In so ruling, the court concluded that this court's decision in Thompson did not apply retroactively to Brooks's convictions.

         The Hennepin County postconviction court similarly ruled that Brooks's "claims, other than ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, are barred under Knaffla" and that his "claims fail on the merits." In so ruling, the court concluded that Birchfield, as well as this court's decisions in Thompson and Trahan, "do not apply retroactively to a ...


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