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Nelson v. State

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

May 22, 2017

Anna M. Nelson, Personal Representative of Estate of Rick Paul Nelson a/k/a Richard Paul Dziubak, petitioner, Appellant,
v.
State of Minnesota, Respondent

         Ramsey County District Court File No. 62-CV-16-3545

          Bruce P. Grostephan, Peterson, Engberg & Peterson, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant).

          John J. Choi, Ramsey County Attorney, Jada N. Lewis, Assistant County Attorney, Robert B. Roche, Assistant County Attorney, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent).

          Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Kirk, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         The right to seek compensation under the Minnesota Imprisonment and Exoneration Remedies Act (MIERA), Minn. Stat. §§ 611.362-.368 (2016), does not survive an exonerated person's death unless there is a pending order issued under Minn. Stat. § 590.11 (2014) or a pending claim under MIERA.

          OPINION

          WORKE, Judge

         Appellant[1] challenges the district court's denial of her petition, arguing that, as the personal representative of Rick Paul Nelson's estate, she is entitled to pursue compensation under MIERA on behalf of the estate. The district court determined that appellant lacked standing because there was no pending order issued under Minn. Stat. § 590.11 or pending claim under MIERA at the time of Nelson's death. We affirm.

         FACTS

         In February 1987, Rick Paul Nelson was charged by complaint with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter.[2] Nelson pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and was sentenced to 81 months in prison.[3]

         Nelson later filed a petition for postconviction relief asking to withdraw his guilty plea based on newly discovered evidence. The district court granted the petition and released Nelson from custody.

         In 1989, Nelson was indicted on charges of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, and third-degree assault. The indictment was based on the same facts and circumstances as the prior charges.[4] Later that year, a jury found Nelson not guilty on all counts.

         Nelson died in February 2015. Appellant-petitioner Anna M. Nelson, Nelson's widow, was appointed the personal representative of Nelson's estate.

         In June 2016, appellant filed a petition requesting an order declaring Nelson's estate eligible for compensation under MIERA. The state opposed the petition. After a hearing, the district court denied the petition. Without reaching the merits of the petition, the district court determined that ...


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