of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts
Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and James
C. Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, Jennifer S. Bovitz,
Kathryn M. Keena, Assistant County Attorneys, Hastings,
Minnesota, for appellant.
T. Grimshaw, Grimshaw Law, LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and
Basil El-Ghazzawy, El-Ghazzawy Law Offices, LLC, Minneapolis,
Minnesota, for respondent.
reasons given by the district court for the downward
durational sentencing departure in this case, which involved
a conviction of terroristic threats, were improper.
record contains insufficient evidence to justify a downward
durational departure on the alternative grounds of remorse
and the social media context of the terroristic threats.
Harrison William Rund pleaded guilty to terroristic threats
in connection with a series of threatening tweets directed at
law enforcement officers. The district court granted
Rund's motion for a downward durational sentencing
departure. A divided panel of the court of appeals affirmed
the departure. Appellant State of Minnesota filed a
petition for review, which we granted. Because the district
court based the departure on improper reasons and the record
contains insufficient evidence to justify the departure on
alternative grounds, we reverse the decision of the court of
appeals, vacate Rund's sentence, and remand to the
district court for imposition of a presumptive sentence.
1:00 a.m. on February 4, 2014, a Minnesota State Trooper
stopped a vehicle driven by Rund. It was not the first time
that the particular trooper had stopped Rund. During the
stop, Rund and the trooper "had a disagreement."
Ultimately, the trooper searched the trunk of Rund's
vehicle, where he found marijuana that was later seized.
the stop, Rund went home, began drinking, and messaged with
friends on Twitter. Rund posted five threatening tweets:
• @StPaulPoliceFdn dude its f*cked up im getting so pissed
out here literally thinkin about just startin to hunt and
• @sppdPIO f*ck you st paul police im gonna kill 5
police officers today
• @StPaulPoliceFdn im lookin for [Z.] boi and whichever
trooper pulled me over lastnight gave me a ticket for goin 68
in a 60
• f*ck the @StPaulPoliceFdn they don't call me the
cop killer for no reason
• throw a grenade in the room, watch all you coppers
tweet that referred to the use of a grenade was posted along
with a photograph of a group of St. Paul police officers.
Rund had previously posted a photograph on his Facebook page
in which it appeared that he was holding a silver
enforcement officers became aware of Rund's tweets the
following morning, and they arrested Rund at his home at 6:30
p.m. that evening. When arrested, Rund stated that he
"tweeted some things he should not have because he had a
bad experience with a police officer the night before."
The next day, February 5, Rund made a recorded statement,
admitting to posting the tweets.
State charged Rund with one count of terroristic threats,
Minn. Stat. § 609.713, subd. 1 (2016). Section 609.713
prohibits a person from "threaten[ing], directly or
indirectly, to commit any crime of violence with purpose to
terrorize another . . ., ...